Congress

“Tariffs are the greatest!”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Folks


See, the only way you could describe protectionist tariffs as "the greatest" is if you don't understand a single thing about trade and this tweet from the "president" clearly illustrates that he does not.

We are not a "piggy bank" that's being "robbed." That's not how anything works.

We have a trade deficit because American consumers buy more than we produce, and that's not going to change. Even during times of economic hardship, our trade deficit dips because Americans have less money to spend, but it doesn't evaporate. It can't. We do not and will never again possess a domestic production capacity that can meet our demands.

Now, tariffs clearly are not "the greatest" because the Trump regime is reportedly drafting plans to bail out American agriculture and farmers who've taken a hit from Trump's trade war.

The Trump administration plans to offer billions of dollars in aid to farmers hit by tariffs on their goods, an emergency bailout intended to ease the pain caused by Trump's escalating trade war in key electoral states, people briefed on the plan told CNBC.

The total aid amount is reportedly about $12 billion.

The announcement could come as soon as Tuesday afternoon, hours after the president proclaimed on Twitter that "Tariffs are the greatest!"

If tariffs are so great and wonderful, why do we need bailouts?

It's not entirely clear how the White House is proposing that we pay for bailing out the agriculture industry, but it appears they want to use authority and funding granted by the annual farm bill to do it. The only problem is this year's farm bill hasn't passed through Congress yet and it's possible it may not.

You may recall that House Republicans failed to pass their version of the farm bill because of an internal squabble between the Freedom Caucus and relatively moderate members of the GOP. The Senate version of the bill has been caught up in committee for months and it's still lingering there at this time.

Congress will be leaving Washington for summer recess this week and they will not return until the second week of September. When they return, they'll have less than 30 days to fund the federal government to avoid a shutdown when fiscal 2019 begins at midnight on October 1st.

If Trump ultimately gets his way and Congress passes a bill that allows him to bail out the industry, it could be a pyrrhic victory as subsiding domestic industries is exactly what Trump has accused other countries of doing. Bailing out the agriculture industry will perpetuate Trump's trade war and, before you know it, temporary subsidies will become permanent subsidies.

Republicans will spend billions to fix a problem of their own making before they'll spend another dime on things we actually need like health care and education.

If you want free money from the government, you might want to consider becoming a farmer. You won't have to actually grow anything or even work on your farm to receive subsidies.

  • swift_4

    If you want free money from the government, don’t become a farmer. Become a large farming conglomerate. Or, become a member of Congress who owns a lot of land that is called a farm.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump is crowing that “everybody’s talking” about his tariffs.

    In other words, Trump’s various trade wars are nothing more or less than an attempt at misdirection. I don’t think it’s a terribly effective distractrion from his legal problems, but it’s certainly an expensive one.

    Any time now, Mr Mueller.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    So, markets are in the process of disappearing for American agriculture due to a trade war that is “easy to win” and which is supposed to somehow “make us money” because of the tariffs. If whatever tariffs make in terms of increased government revenue is going to have to go to subsidize American industries suffering due to tariffs like agriculture, how do you “win” a trade war? All I see them doing is increasing the cost of purchasing anything for the American consumer which will probably just set off a round of inflationary price hikes. Where am I wrong on this?

  • Basically it’s a bribe to keep the farmers who were stupid enough to vote for Trumpov quiet through the midterms. And it will probably work. The irony is that the majority of the money will go to large agribusiness corporations since they make up the bulk of the industry nowadays.

  • Draxiar

    In other words, “Tariffs are great because they make me look smart and tough and strong to stupid people and I won’t be affected by them! Nobody does tariffs as good as me, nobody!”

  • katanahamon

    Does that include the coal subsidy and the nuclear power subsidy? How many subsidies are we talking here? After the damage the tariffs themselves and the subsequent subsidies, our economy will definitely crash..what a jackass…

  • katanahamon

    No. Sorry, no bailouts as a result of Rump’s stupid decisions. This is getting worse than ridiculous. How stupid are we going to get? Why isn’t Rump in jail yet, along with all the co conspirators? Infuriatingly he is now tweeting that the Russians are helping Democrats..he can’t have it both ways..either they’re interfering, or they’re not..

  • waspuppet

    The obvious solution is to turn the entire federal budget outlay into one lump sum and give Trump complete control over it to dole it out however and to whomever he wants.

    I mean, of course I’m being sarcastic, but you know he’s going to suggest it sooner than later.