Trump Set To Spend Billions on Aid to Farmers Hurt by His Trade War

Workers look for weeds in a research field of soybeans, near Springfield, Neb., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Who could’ve seen this coming? Oh, right. Everyone.

The Trump administration is gearing up to announce a $12 billion package to help farmers who are being hurt by Pres. Donald Trump’s ever-escalating trade war. $12 billion above and beyond the billions we sink into the industry every year under the necessary evil of the “Farm Bill.”

The relief package comes just days after the Wall Street Journal reported 2.5 billion pounds of American meat has piled up as Trump’s tariff war has halted purchase orders for export.

Meat is piling up in U.S. cold-storage warehouses, fueled by a surge in supplies and trade disputes that are eroding demand.

Federal data, coming as early as Monday, are expected to show a record level of beef, pork, poultry and turkey being stockpiled in U.S. facilities, rising above 2.5 billion pounds, agricultural analysts said.

The $12 billion is reportedly aimed primarily at helping soybean farmers (who have seen prices drop precipitously), dairy producers and pig farmers who are or may be harmed through falling prices due to the tariffs Trump has levied against trade partners.

Farm groups have complained that moves by China and other countries in response to Trump’s protectionist trade stance could cost them billions of dollars, spooking Republicans who fear a political and economic blowback to Trump’s approach.

The White House has searched for months for a way to provide emergency assistance to farmers without backing down on Trump’s trade agenda, and the new program will extend roughly $12 billion through three mechanisms run by the Department of Agriculture.

The funds will come through direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program.

And how is the president going to pull off this costly maneuver? MAGA back to the 1930’s, of course.

The aid proposal, which relies in part on a depression-era Department of Agriculture program designed to bail out farmers, is the product of a months-long research effort intended to help the administration see its trade war through by warding off domestic opposition in the farming community.

The depression-era program, known as the Commodity Credit Corporation, is empowered to borrow $30 billion from the Treasury Department absent Congressional approval.

Nothing like a good ol’ Depression-era, Democratic program to fall back on to support your base when the economy is humming along and Republicans control Congress and the White House.