President Trump is reportedly preparing a plan for a $12 billion bailout for farmers aversely affected by his administration’s tariff policy. If true, this is a very bad idea.
News of the supposed plan was leaked to the media by anonymous sources, so it is possible that this is just an idea being floated to see how the public reacts. Specific details are scarce, but according to CNBC, the billion-dollar plan will “use existing programs designed to mitigate price and coverage risks, and could target dairy, pork and soy products.”
Trump has imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese machine and tech imports and has threatened to increase tariffs on as much as $500 billion of Chinese goods. China turned around and slapped dollar-for-dollar tariffs on U.S. farm products in response to tariffs raised by the Trump administration. This is the textbook definition of a trade war, which is not “easy to win” and has consequences. One of the consequences is bad for American farmers, who are seeing their exports to China decrease, the prices for their crops fall, and are losing money and staring bankruptcy in the face.
Tariffs are taxes on American consumers. They raise the prices on goods we buy, and retaliatory tariffs hurt the goods we sell to other countries. President Trump has experimented with raising tariffs, inviting retaliation, and now his administration is considering increasing government spending to fix a problem it created.
The arsonist is trying to put out the fire, and some lawmakers are not happy about it.
Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers — the answer is remove the tariffs.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 24, 2018
Ben Sasse responds to White House plan to bail out agriculture industry amid Trump’s various trade wars pic.twitter.com/B59olVXFOB
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) July 24, 2018
If this plan was leaked as a trial balloon, it needs to be shot down in flames.
Opposing this bailout is not an anti-Trump position. It is not anti-farmer either. It’s an acknowledgement that with a $21 trillion national debt and with a projected $1 trillion deficit in 2019, there is no justification to spend $12 billion when the real problem is U.S. tariff policy.
Conservatives should oppose a tax-payer funded government bailout to put a bandaid on a problem the government created. Hopefully President Trump will listen to conservatives and reverse course.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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