As the stock market tanked yet again today, the enormity of the disastrous financial consequences that have resulted from the election of Donald Trump has only become more and more clear each day.
The idea that a failed business executive with multiple bankruptcies under his belt was a financial wizard with the solution to the nation’s economic woes — simply because he was portrayed as a successful real estate mogul on TV — is the fatal misconception that led to the current economic disaster as America faces the results of the president’s belligerent trade, tax, and tariff policies.
With Trump’s unilateral decision to launch trade wars with the country’s biggest trading partners while simultaneously restricting the immigrant labor that the agricultural sector needs to harvest its crops, the president has set up a perfect storm for the nation’s farmers who now face crops left to rot in their fields as they lack workers to reap their acreage and markets willing to purchase whatever products they have managed to glean from their land despite labor shortages.
For a president who has cultivated much of his political base from the rural areas of the country where farmers’ livelihoods are at stake, the situation has the potential to become a major sinkhole, further dragging down Trump’s popularity at a time when workers in the auto, steel, and coal sectors have already opened their eyes to the lies that the president peddled in promising them whatever would garner their votes.
That Trump is acutely aware of the political danger that the fallout from his policies has caused is manifestly apparent in the news today that taxpayers were going to — for the second time this year — bail out farmers harmed by the retaliatory tariffs that foreign governments have instituted in response to Trump’s offensive trade measures.
Trump announced the action to try to compensate for his failed policies through his Twitter feed as usual.
Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. I have authorized Secretary Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever–we stand with our Farmers!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2018
As Trump tweets go, this one was relatively light on outright lies, if still full of serious deceptive mischaracterization. For one thing, it’s generally not considered “unjustified retaliation” when someone hits back after you’ve punched them first.
And apparently, the president has stopped reading The Wall Street Journal if indeed he truly believes that “our economy is stronger than ever.”
While that may be true for corporate oligarchs fattening their wallets with the proceeds from the Republican tax breaks for billionaires that they passed last year, the inflation driven by Trump’s tariffs coupled with ever stagnant wages for ordinary workers does not make for a bright economic forecast in the eyes of most economists who are now predicting an imminent recession.
According to an article on The Hill:
“After this latest round of payments, farmers will have received about $9.6 billion in aid, according to Department of Agriculture figures. The largest payments will be for soybeans.”
“Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement Monday that farmers ‘are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation.'”
“‘This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year,’ he added.”
The Agriculture Secretary blamed China and other nations for the trade imbalances that inspired Trump’s tariff policy but basically admitted that today’s move was a stalling mechanism to give Trump more time to bully other nations into conforming to his will.
“The programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy,” Perdue stated.
History has proven that the American economy tanks during Republican administrations and grows during Democratic rule. If politics does indeed boil down to “it’s the economy, stupid,” then Trump and the GOP’s days are numbered, and today’s agricultural bailout is among the first signs of a turning point.
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Original reporting by Michael Burke and Brandon Conradis at The Hill.