So let’s see if we have this straight. A $12 billion aid package to farmers is in the works because President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with other countries, most notably China, are having the effect on agriculture analysts predicted it would?
Credit goes to the Kansas congressional delegation that took a look at the plan and responded with great hesitancy.
“It’s problematic to say the least,” Sen. Pat Roberts surmised.
Sen. Jerry Moran said: “ ... If you’re having to come up with $12 billion to compensate farmers, that’s a pretty good message that exports matter and our preference would be for an income to come from selling agricultural commodities around the world.”
Rep. Ron Estes called it a short-term fix that’s welcome news for farmers.
Kansas farmers are not keen on receiving this kind of federal assistance. They would rather be able to export their goods and remain viable in international markets.
President Trump all but promised a trade war before he was elected, saying America’s trade partners weren’t playing fair with tariffs on U.S. goods.
Most Midwest states with a large agriculture industry went for Trump in the 2016 election, for various reasons and despite the threat of tariffs that would harm state economies.
So here we are. Trump delivered and the Department of Agriculture is right behind him to clean up the mess. It makes you wonder if the Trump administration thinks trade disputes will yield results quickly or if this is a long-term crisis for agriculture and other affected industries.
“Tariffs are the greatest!” Trump began a Tuesday tweet. So great that the federal government created a $12 billion, taxpayer-funded monstrosity to help farmers “benefiting” from the greatness.
Kirk Seminoff is community engagement editor at the Wichita Eagle.