President Trump’s bailouts for farmers hit hard by his trade war with China have already cost twice as much as President Obama’s automaker bailout and farmers expect the funds to keep flowing, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Trump has approved two bailouts for farmers worth a total of $28 billion. The bailouts are not offsetting the full cost of the loss of Chinese purchases of soybeans, pork, and other products. And despite Trump’s claim that China is paying the US billions, the amount of money raised by the tariffs does not come close to covering the cost of the bailouts.
Farmer bailout already twice the size of auto bailout:
“At $28 billion so far, the farm rescue is more than twice as expensive as the 2009 bailout of Detroit's Big Three automakers, which cost taxpayers $12 billion. And farmers expect the money to keep flowing,” Bloomberg reported.
Despite the price tag, farmers say it’s not enough.
“The aid package that has come in is a relief, and it softens the landing, but it’s not a solution, it’s a Band-Aid,” farmer Stan Born told Bloomberg after attending a Trump event in Illinois.
Still, as long as the trade war continues, farmers expect the funds to keep coming. An August survey by Purdue University found that nearly 60% of farmers expect another round of bailouts next year.
Farmers ‘collateral damage’ in Trump’s trade war:
“Farmers became collateral damage in Trump’s tit-for-tat tariff war with China, which is being waged primarily for the benefit of such sectors as manufacturing and tech. Agriculture is actually one of the rare U.S. industries that consistently runs a trade surplus, and not just with China—testimony to the gains that have accrued to American farmers from globalization,” Bloomberg reported.
Farmers have hit hard times. Net farm income is projected to be down nearly 30% this year from where it was in 2013 and farm debt has risen to $416 billion.
Despite these hard times, Trump’s political support remains strong in rural areas, where Bloomberg notes his poll numbers are consistently about 12% above his national numbers.