So, daddy’s widdle man whipped out his wallet, pulled out daddy’s credit card, and treated his farmer buddies to another free lunch today, huh? Before Trump waddled out to the podium to peddle his latest bottle of snake oil, he had his Agriculture Suckretary, Sonny Perdue sunburn his bald pate in fatuously explaining how the Chinese were graciously picking up the tab, with the billions of tariff dollars that they were shoveling into the treasury, which would pay for the subsidies. Different day, same scam. But there are a couple of problems today that may upset Trump’s push cart.
First is the fact that since the day that His Lowness announced the first round of farm “subsidies” to offset the massive losses farmers were suffering from his ill advised tariff war with China, his main talking point has been thoroughly debunked. It has been explained ad nauseam that not one dollar of Chinese money has been paid to the treasury in tariffs, that money is paid by US companies purchasing Chinese products, and of course, passed on to American consumers.
The use of American farmers as the poster children for this particular line of bullshit is uncommonly odious, for one simple reason. Tariffs are punitive taxes levied on imported goods from the targeted foreign country. The reason that American farmers are losing their collective shirts is that they are trying to export their corn, soy beans, beef, pork, and poultry to Chinese companies, which are not buying them in order to avoid the punitive tariffs that China has placed on these commodities! Even if the Chinese were actually directly paying tariffs, it wouldn’t be on the things the farmers are producing, the money would still be being stolen from other companies for products that the Chinese were buying. The logic doesn’t work.
The second reason is that Trump is showing himself to be almost as shitty of a con man as he is a businessman. The cardinal rule of the con is to “score and move on.” Once you hit up a mark, after you’re gone, he’s inevitably going to have second thoughts, and look at things in a more logical light. If you come back again, even if he doesn’t punch you in the mouth and call the cops, he’s going to ask you some very pointed questions that you don’t have acceptable answers for.
This is starting to happen. In the last 10 days, since Trump announced the increase in tariffs to 25%, MSNBC and CNN have talked to at least two different farmers that I saw, both of whom were high up in farmers “associations,” dealing directly with farmers who were adversely affected by the tariffs, and educating and counseling them. They both had identical mantras of concern. The first was that while the subsidies in the first go around had helped them to survive, farmers don’t want subsidies to help them to scrape by. They want trade at a fair price. They spent an entire season planting, nurturing, watering, and weeding this stuff, and they want to sell the fruits of their labor for a profit, not be given a helping hand.
But the second, more dangerous problem for Trump this time around, is that these two farmers at least, have had their come-to-Jesus epiphany on this issue. I dunno, maybe their MAGA hats blew off while they were standing in a field somewhere, watching their produce rot all around them. But both had been educated to the fact that the Chinese don’t actually pay those tariffs directly into the US treasury. The money that they and their fellow farmers received from the government came not from Chinese companies, but from US taxpayers! And they are royally pissed. Both repeatedly referred to the payouts as “handouts” and not “subsidies,” and were openly scornful at the deception. These farmers are rather pointedly educating their members of the actual reality of the origins of these alleged “subsidies” that they are receiving, and what they actually are, a handout. If this information spreads too widely, Trump is going to be in deep shit with farmers, one of his most reliable constituencies.
And there is one more problem with this second round of alleged subsidies, and it’s the same problem they had with the first one. And that problem is exclusion. As it turns out, guess who isn’t covered by wither round of “subsidies?” Shrimpers and lobstermen. An MSNBC reporter spoke to one lobsterman, who runs an association of more than 100 lobstermen who ply their trade up and down the northern Atlantic. He said that his group had lost a staggering $100 million in Chinese income in the last year alone. After years of cultivating the contracts with Chinese buyers, with the onset of the tariffs, the Chinese cut them off at the knees, and started buying the same product from Canadian lobstermen instead. And not one of them has received a single dollar in “subsidies” from Trump to help to defray their losses. And that $100 million that they don’t have? Guess where they’re not spending it? At businesses in the same towns that Trump is going to come running to in 12 months, pimping for votes as the economic genius that has made them all into millionaires.
The worst con man in the world is the one whose first mark is himself. because he so convinces himself of his own brilliance that he can’t see that nobody else is buying his bullshit. Those farmers may be stuck with those “handouts,” whether they like them or not, simply to survive the mess that Dr Squalgood has gotten them into. But low likely is the shame of the knowledge of this fleecing they took at his hands going to make them feel about voting for him again next November. We shall see, but my money is on “not very likely.”
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