Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Yes, Trump Is Bailing Out Soybean Farmers

And maybe dairy farmers as well.  As suggested in a recent post here, indeed it will be by using the Commodity Credit Corporation, and Trump has announced a $12 billion package, starting in September, two months before the mid-term elections.  That is not quite the estimated $14 billion expected to be lost due to retaliatory tariffs on US soybean farmers, although it would cover a lot, although reportedly also hurting US dairy farmers will also get some of that action, which would reduce the aid soybean farmers will get.

It is unclear where the financing for this will come from.  This will  apparently involve no  action by Congress, but where the money will come from has not been announced. As it is USDA Secretary Perdue who has been identified as overseeing this bailout, presumably the money is coming from existing USDA budgets. But it is unclear what other USDA activities might suffer from cuts in funding for this blatantly political scheme.  It appears the CCC has some funds sitting around in some accounts, but nowhere near the amount that has been announced.  Will the CCC borrow the money?

While I guess this should be obvious, former W. Bush OMB Director, Douglas Holtz-Eakins has denounced this move as violating the purpose of the CCC as laid out both in 1933 when it was established, as well in terms of all of its subsequent practice.  Its support is supposed to be for damages farmers experience due to bad weather and other such natural events.  While aid has extended somewhat beyond that over time, it has never been to compensate for the costs engendered by a policy action of a president as is the case this time. This is without precedent, and even a lot of farm groups are not expressing enthusiasm for it, perhaps because some of them may be worrying that the funds for this will come out of other ag support programs that they are receiving.

Barkley Rosser

1 comment:

Barkley Rosser said...

Careful reading of today's front page story in WaPo on all this says not a word about the TTIP. This "agreement" seems to strand on its own, with it mostly being that the US will not impose auto tariffs while the EU promises to buy more soybeans. Oh yes, there will be some negotiations about maybe US ending the steel and aluminum tariffs, perhaps in exchange for a cut in European tariffs on US autos, as well as some vaguer more general discussions that might end up restarting the TTIP negotiations. Oh, and the EU claims they will invest in infrastructure that "might" allow them to import US LNG, assuming "the price is competitive."

But, hey, we got the headline for the unhappy GOP Midwest: Europe will buy more soybeans!!! (maybe)