good con man will convince the mark that something is broken and
offer to fix it, for a price, and if it isn't broken, he can break it
and offer to fix it.
similar is going on with President Trump and his desperate efforts to
show his ardent supporters among the nation's industrial farmers that
he is going to fix the mess he made for them with his tariffs against
China, which is not buying soybeans and other industrial crops from
the U.S. Trump told the nation and the farmers that he would take
care of them if there were any fallout from the trade attack on
China declined to buy commodities from U.S. farmers with the first
round of tariffs, the president simply decided to provide some $12
billion in subsidies to help them out. That was then and this week,
he is seeking an additional $15 billion in subsidies to further bail
them out, but none of this has been greatly helpful to them, just as
his tariffs will put a burden on anything from China that is
purchased by American consumers.
assured the country that “trade wars are easy to win,”
and with that, his business acumen is showing. That is to say, his
business acumen has disappeared, if he ever had any at the beginning.
It's likely that his refusal to reveal his tax returns will show
that he is far from the sharp businessman that he professed himself
to be. Rather, they are likely to show that he has failed at
enterprise after enterprise and that he has cheated and shorted
everyone along the way, including contractors, workers, banks, and
lenders of varying descriptions.
the case of his tariffs and his trade wars, he is doing damage to the
nation and not just to those who have mistakenly chosen to associate
themselves with him. He has shown himself to be a personal tragedy,
but what he has brought about as “leader of the free world”
is a national tragedy and, in turn, a global economic tragedy. And
that's not counting the wasted economic substance and suffering of
the wars that he has continued and those he is contemplating, under
the tutelage of the advisors who seem to love war for war, itself:
John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Eliot Abrams.
all of this, however, reason.com noted at the end of April: “Tariffs
are draining $1.4 billion out of the U.S. economy every month,
according to a comprehensive review published in March by a trio of
economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. New jobs
created in steel and aluminum manufacturing have come at a steep
price, and the trade deficit that Trump vowed to reduce has continued
growing.” From most viewpoints, Trump's easy trade war wins
and tariffs are not working.
the failures of Trump's policies has not deterred his core followers,
including the farmers who are being hardest hit by his policies.
Press reports have been that most still support him and his policies.
Some said they still have faith in Trump. But this second round of
subsidies may be moving them away from that support. One, a soybean
farmer, on camera, said recently that “hope is not a business
plan.” He didn't say that he was changing his enrollment as a
Republican or that he wouldn't vote for Trump again, but he doesn't
put much stock in hoping for a recovery.
the same time, Politico reported that Trump's latest effort to bail
out the farmers included the government's buying the grain and
distributing it to places where it is most needed. But, the news
organization also pointed out that he has proposed cutting out food
aid programs, so it would be difficult to fix the system that would
allow the grain to get to the people who most need it. Such is the
result of impulse decision-making, for which Trump is famous. Who
pays for the folly of such bad planning and decision-making? Mostly,
it's the taxpayers and we know who they are, since the richest do not
pay their share of taxes, it will be wage earners. Usually, no good
comes of acting on impulse.
question is whether China's seeming preeminence in world trade is
something to be feared by the biggest economy in the world?
Recently, President Jimmy Carter revealed, to his Sunday school
class, no less, that Trump called him with those very concerns.
Should the U.S. be worried about China's growing power? Yes, replied
the oldest living president, he told the current occupant of the
reported by National Public Radio last month: Carter said he agreed
with Trump and asked him, “...do you know why?...I normalized
diplomatic relations with China in 1979. Since 1979, do you know how
many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have
stayed at war.” NPR noted that China and Vietnam actually
fought a brief border war in early 1979, weeks after U.S. relations
with China were normalized, but that is it for their war. He said
that the U.S. is the “most warlike nation in the history of the
also said, “China has not wasted a single penny on war, and
that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way. And I think the
difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American
infrastructure, you'd probably have $2 trillion left over. We'd have
high-speed railroad. We'd have bridges that aren't collapsing. We'd
have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would
be as good as that of, say, South Korea or Hong Kong.” He
added, “I wasn't comparing my country adversely to China... I
was just pointing that out because I happened to get a phone call
call or not, Carter was speaking the truth about U.S. aggression in
so many parts of the world and, considering that the nation has some
800 bases in 70 countries, while France and Britain have 30 bases,
combined, it's not hard to determine where the wealth of the country
and its people is going. As we have said here before, the policies
of the U.S. government is hollowing out the nation and the American
people's ability to pay for the reckless policies of maintaining and
promoting wars and preparation for war without end. With that kind
of spending (and Trump has not taken a step back from the routine
warmaking), there is not and will not be any left over for such
things as education, low-cost housing, health care, roads and
bridges, and food stamps.
just the cost of his tariffs, at $1.4 billion a month (so far), the
$15 billion he proposes to take out of some other part of the federal
budget to pay off farmers doesn't seem like such a bad deal. Right?