Tag Archives: farmers

The American Blob: Government Will Grow Until It Consumes Itself, Explodes, Dies, and Then We Shall Be Free Again, by Stucky

The title progression isn’t too far from what SLL envisions for the future. From Stucky at theburningplatform.com:

We had such a small government when George Washington was President. There were just three Cabinet positions:  the honestly named Secretary of War, who was responsible for both canons on the Hudson being aimed at England; the Secretary of Treasury, who carried the entire budget in his wallet; and the Secretary of Holding the President’s Horse. The Supreme Court only had one wig.  And the Washington Monument was exactly the same height as George, and people said it looked exactly like him.

Q: So, how did government get so BIG???   

A:  By responding to the NEEDS of the PEOPLE!

Let’s look at the needs of farmers. In 1860, about 60% of America’s population lived/worked on farms. Farmers had many needs, and the nation needed a steady reliable source of food, so in 1862 president Lincoln created the Department of Agriculture.  In his final message to Congress, Lincoln called the USDA “The People’s Department.” (That’s really true, and probably the funniest line in this essay.)

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Trump’s Farm Bailout Is Win-Lose, by Bill Bonner

What Trump taketh away from farmers in trade he’s trying to give back to them in subsidies. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

What a spectacular summer!

People may be frying eggs on the sidewalks of Algiers and fighting forest fires in Sweden, but here in Ireland, the heatwave is a delight.

Farmers are grousing, of course, but we are enjoying daytime temperatures in the mid-70s and beautiful, clear skies.

Farmers are grumbling in the U.S., too. The weather is always a favorite subject. And this year, they have something more to kvetch about – the trade war.

Casualties are beginning to pile up. This from Bloomberg:

Harley-Davidson Inc. on Tuesday cut its profit margin forecast, citing tariffs. The iconic motorcycle maker was caught in the crossfire of the trade war last month when it announced plans to shift some U.S. production overseas, prompting attacks from Trump.

Dutch electronics firm Royal Philips NV Chief Executive Frans van Houten says an escalation of tariffs may mean it has to pass on costs to customers, and Whirlpool Corp. said rising raw material costs hurt results in some of its markets in the second quarter.

Farm Bailout

Out on the Great Plains, the bodies lie especially thick. The damage estimate so far: $11 billion.

But U.S. farmers are not locking arms like Londoners during the Blitz, or going on short rations like Soviets during the Siege of Leningrad. If anyone is going to make wartime sacrifices… it’s not going to be them.

They’ve got two senators per state… and a Republican Party that needs their money and their votes.

As expected, America’s president proposed yesterday to bail out the farm sector with $12 billion in welfare payments.

Naturally, the president feels some responsibility in the matter, since it was he who put the hayseeds under water.

He also looks ahead to the midterm election season, when the fellows with the big tractors make a big impression on the politicians.

The Donald has replaced win-win with win-lose. But the $12 billion won’t come out of Donald Trump’s pocket.

Nor will it come from the U.S. Treasury. The feds don’t have any money; they’re already projected to run a trillion dollars in the hole for fiscal year 2019.

So where will the money come from?

Will taxes be raised on consumers, also hurt by the trade war? Will the steel producers… or steel workers… or steel buyers – similarly damaged – pony up the money? Which group will get the rewards? Which will be punished?

To continue reading: Trump’s Farm Bailout Is Win-Lose

How Trump’s “Doom And Gloom” Tariffs Are Crippling American Farmers, by Tyler Durden

Tariffs on aluminum and steel are hurting farmers, and that’s before the retaliatory tariffs from China on American agricultural products kick in. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The tariffs that President Trump vowed to put in place while campaigning – and followed through on – like many government solutions, are solving one problem while creating others at the same time. In this case, the “unintended consequences” from steel tariffs are hurting agricultural jobs across the Midwest, putting pressure on some of the most vehement supporters of President Trump.

A Reuters expose released this morning reveals how how tariffs – as well-intentioned as they may have been – have led to higher cost of goods for farmers across the country.

The authors tell several personal stories, including that of a farmer who was about to purchase a $71,000 grain mill, but had to hold off on the purchase because the seller raised the price 5% to account for the rising price of steel:

Lucas Strom, who runs a century-old family farm in rural Illinois, canceled an order to buy a new $71,000 grain storage bin last month – after the seller raised the price 5 percent in a day.

The reason: steel prices jumped right after U.S. President Donald Trump announced tariffs.

Throughout U.S. farm country, where Trump has enjoyed strong support, tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are boosting costs for equipment and infrastructure and causing some farmers and agricultural firms to scrap purchases and expansion plans, according to Reuters’ interviews with farmers, manufacturers, construction firms and food shippers.

The impact of rising steel prices on agriculture illustrates the unintended and unpredictable consequences of aggressive protectionism in a global economy. And the blow comes as farmers fear a more direct hit from retaliatory tariffs threatened by China on crops such as sorghum and soybeans, the most valuable U.S. agricultural export.

A&P Grain Systems in Maple Park, Illinois – the seller of the storage bin Strom wanted to buy with a neighboring farmer – raised its price two days after Trump announced aluminum and steel tariffs on March 1 to protect U.S. producers of the metals. Strom and his neighbor backed out.

To continue reading: How Trump’s “Doom And Gloom” Tariffs Are Crippling American Farmers