Trade war impact on farmers is serious

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/national-farmers-union-roger-johnson-trump-trade-war-china_n_5d68b124e4b0488c0d122b1c

National Farmers Union represents 200,000 farms in 33 states and they are not happy with Trump.

Roger Johnson, President of NFU, is very upset that Trump elected to go it alone on addressing China’s trade abuses. TPP was in place and ready to go as a unified front against China, but Trump decided he knew better.

Just ask Maine’s lobster fishermen who have lost 80% of their exports to China. Canadian lobster trade, on the other hand, is seeing a nice surge in business.

Canada was part of TPP and is also a partner in the revised version without the US.

Of course the icing on the proverbial cake was Agriculture Secretary calling farmers whiners. Add in Lindsay Graham telling us to accept the pain.

An administration packed with multi-millionaires and billionaires and its party representing more of the same telling family farms, businesses and hard working Americans to suck it up. Farms are going under and have lost markets that may take decades to regain.

“Suck it up, whiner”. The new bumper sticker from our CINC.

And the topics coming from the regime?

Nuking Greenland and buying hurricanes. Or whatever spewed out recently to distract us from the mess being created.

IMHO

18 thoughts on “Trade war impact on farmers is serious

  1. The damage being done is generational and serves the big business combines well, as they will gobble up the bankrupt properties to widen their margins and reduce competition.

    A cynical mind might conclude that this is another reason for the lack of major big money pushback.

    Of course the billions in subsidies may be playing a role…GOP fiscal socialism at its best.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. A cynical mind might stretch a bit further. It didn’t take long for Trump to realize the power of a presidential tweet when it come to the markets, both here and abroad.

    “Raise tariffs on this and that.”

    Markets tank.

    “Wait a while, Xi sent a note.”

    Markets rebound.

    “Xi retaliated…add another 10%.”

    Tank.

    “Lower the interest rate.”

    Rebound.

    “Powell and Xi are enemies,”

    Tank.

    Over and over.

    Big traders make can make large fortunes on this induced volatility without inside info. With a leak or two, very large fortunes.

    If it weren’t for Trump’s reputation of impeccable business ethics and adherence to the truth, a citizen might be a bit suspicious.

    Just sayin’.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. For all the illustrative context and interpretive opinion, the HuffPo piece musters in its 530 words, it does remarkably little to illuminate the subject at hand. There is only one statement of fact of direct relevance:

    “Farmers ‘are in a lot of financial stress right now; net farm income is half of what it was six years ago,’ said Johnson.”

    That sounds bad, and is likely true, given Huffpo’s generally favorable reputation for accuracy. But nowhere mentioned is the fact China’s malevolent trade practices have been a topic of public discussion for years, or that the current administration is the first ever to try to do something about them. Or the $12 billion relief proposal the administration is working on to help our farmers.

    When people point fingers at mainstream media for being fake news, this is why.

    All that aside, the more fundamental puzzle is that the public policy options for dealing with China all have problems. Multi-lateral trade negotiations, and disputes which arise from them, can take years to resolve, with trade deficits piling up all the while. Unilateral tariffs and embargoes cause immediate pain, which can become long-term injury. Bilateral trade negotiations can be, as we are seeing with China, notoriously fickle.

    Theoretically, there are no good solutions, but theoretically there are no bad ones, either.

    The bottom line: No use crying about it, you have to dance with the girl what brung ya.

    Like

  4. Two thoughts:

    The main issue with China was not the trade deficit. It was about trade practices regarding intellectual property and barriers to business investments in China, among some other details. I know you disagree.
    But the issues I listed in question can be repaired and negotiated relatively quickly. Moving factories and whole supply chains can’t. Besides, many businesses that spent years getting into China are not leaving. They are making good money and China is a huge market.

    Next, in any war, shooting your own soldiers in “friendly fire” is not a good thing. And that is what our farmers have been: targets. Trump has destroyed markets for many and gained zero. He is betting our farmers’ livelihoods that Xi will cave. Losing face is big to Xi. But his people suffering is not. China is tough about suffering.

    I have contended over and over that leaving TPP was shortsighted. China can fight a one front war, but not a dozen other markets at once. TPP was designed to take on China. So saying that nothing was going to be done until Trump arrived is not true. He just pitched that trade agreement for reasons we can argue about all day.

    Trump said winning trade wars is easy. Now he knows he’s wrong.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. RE: “The main issue with China was not the trade deficit. It was about trade practices regarding intellectual property and barriers to business investments in China, among some other details. I know you disagree.”

      I do disagree on the grounds, as you know, that I regard trade deficits as a deadly serious problem. Whether it is better to have trade deficits that drain the national wealth so that one industry profits, or lower profits in that industry so that the national wealth can be preserved is anyone’s guess. I side with the latter as being the more solvable puzzle, long term.

      My immediate concern, however, is that the HuffPo story doesn’t advance the discussion at all. By leaving out, at a minimum, any mention of the historical context or the farm aid proposal, the story accomplishes little beyond bashing Trump.

      Like

      1. “… HuffPo story doesn’t advance the discussion at all. By leaving out, at a minimum, any mention of the historical context or the farm aid proposal…”

        The article was about the NFU viewpoint on the effects of the trade war for its member farmers. It doesn’t have include all the ifs, ands or buts that have been written about since the trade war started.

        Any “bashing” of Trump is your interpretation, not what is in the article.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. @ Roberts

    “. . .the current administration is the first ever to try to do something about them”

    That is a complete falsehood. Typical.

    n fact, the Obama administration worked long and hard and pushed against Democratic party pressure groups to put together the TPP which was the thinking man’s approach to containing bad practices by China.

    Whether on the Pilot or now in this forum the practice of supporting arguments and opinions with palpable falsehoods is disrespectful to those bothering to read what you have to say.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. RE: “[Obama’s ] TPP…was the thinking man’s approach to containing bad practices by China.”

      Some people say that. More commonly, Trump critics point out that TPP was merely a better venue than bilateral negotiations for resolving our trade issues with China.

      Either way, the potential value of TPP as a solution is a matter of opinion, not fact. My own opinion is that TPP would have institutionalized our China trade deficit, because that was its real purpose.

      So, no, I don’t see TPP as a solution to our China trade problems.

      Like

      1. The value or eventual effectiveness of the TPP may well be a matter of opinion. That does not change the fact that great effort and political capital went into it and that your statement that “the current administration is the first ever to try to do something about them” was complete FALSE.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Is there any evidence the soybeans are going unsold?

        Soybeans are fungible. If China buys its soybeans from Brazil instead of us, where will Brazil’s former customers buy theirs?

        If the overall market for soybeans was declining, it would be reflected in the price.

        Like

        1. True, according to its own president, NFU members lean Democratic. Generally it is a non-partisan organization that was formed in 1902 to serve the interests of family farms. I think calling the NFU a front for the DNC Is a stretch. The NFU more closely represents the population as a whole.

          Yet if you check other links about farmers there is an interesting dichotomy. 75% supported Trump, or in many cases opposed the Democratic Party, on a lot of issues both regulatory and social, and many still will despite the damage to the industry. And the damage is substantial otherwise Trump wouldn’t be paying them off with taxpayer monies. A redistribution from consumers through tax hikes to both big and small Agra, above and beyond the usual subsidies.

          The last retaliation by China was to ban all agricultural products from US. We’ll see how that plays out.

          It turns out that the key swing states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania don’t export much so the probable strategy by the regime is to not worry about export losses yet.

          Of course if Trump and his lackeys keep up insulting farmers and industry by calling them whiners and bad managers we might eventually see a dip in his popularity.

          The last I saw, soybeans were selling at about $1 above cost of production.

          Liked by 1 person

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