Should the Trump administration bail out farmers who are hurt by tariffs? Our ‘Political Insiders’ say no

Last week the Trump administration announced plans to provide up to $12 billion in economic aid to American farmers who have been affected by retaliatory tariffs on their products. Our “Political Insiders” and readers overwhelmingly disagree with that plan.

The $12 billion in emergency relief would be for farmers hurt by Trump’s trade war to alleviate some of the financial hardships felt by American farmers because of the president’s protectionist policies. 

Our “Political Insiders” and readers are apparently not fans of the bailout plan. 

  • 75% of the Republicans on our panel disagree with the financial aid.
  • 85% of the Democrats who responded to our survey are opposed.
  • 93% of our readers think the subsidies are a terrible idea.


Selected anonymous comments:

Let me see; we apply tariffs to help the farmers compete and then bail them out when tariffs actually hurt them. I can’t believe intelligent people still support this administration.

I agree with aid for family-owned farms, but large corporate-owned farms should be excluded.

The Trump tariffs are hurting farmers because the Chinese and European Union have targeted these Trump voters for new tariffs in hopes of dissuading Trump from following through on the proposed automobile tariffs.

Trump knows his base. Of course, he is helping farmers just like Obama subsidized green energy projects when he was President.

I vehemently disagree with the stupid & blind trade “policy,” but there should be no need to further burden Americans with tax-supported penance to some who are most directly affected. So with great distaste I agree that innocent farmers should not have pay for Trump & his wrong-headed advisors ignorance & hubris.

Are we being punked? Where’s Borat? Who falls for this stuff?

“Maintain the base at any cost. The ends always justify the means.” Richard Milhouse Nixon.

What happened to the free market? He is just doing what Republicans have complained about for years — taking the money from one group of people and handing it to another. No rhyme or reason, other than trying to keep his base happy and the rest of us off balance.

I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. The GOP was once the party of free trade and cutting government spending.

Tariffs are taxes. They make products more expensive if you are the consumer trying to buy them, and they make your product harder to sell if you are the producer trying to sell it. All of the tariffs (followed by the retaliatory tariffs from other countries) will cause this same sort of harm to buyers and sellers. Some few favored or powerful groups (say farmers or automobile companies) may be able to elicit relief or lobby to avoid the tariffs in the first place — but most producers will not and we as consumers paying the higher prices will not.

These subsidies will raise the deficit. The problem was self-imposed by Trump’s trade war.

I thought conservatives were against socialism. He is turning hard-working farmers into welfare recipients. That’s sad.

The tariff war is dumb. Farm aid is dumb. More farm aid due to the tariff war is doubling down on dumb.

He created the problem with the tariffs, so he needs to protect those who are hurt by retaliatory tariffs.

He created the farmers’ problem and now wants to spend billions on a bailout. Unacceptable.

Farmers need free markets, not government subsidies and bad trade policies. Pres Trump needs to admit he was wrong and reverse this bad decision.

I believe in a free market. In addition to growing up on a ranch, we had a small dairy. Back then the Govt purchased cheese and gave it away to support the price of milk. Had they not intervened, I believe the market would have corrected itself naturally instead of allowing farmers to languish in a zero/barely profitable endeavor.

I agree farmers need help, not in federal aid, but in fair, consistent trade. Trump should grow up and realize the world doesn’t revolve around him.

For a man who claims to know so much about business, the President seems to be clueless as it relates to the harm tariffs can cause to the economy. Let’s just get rid of the tariffs and not have to worry about all these stupid subsidies.

It’s a poor band-aid for the Trump administration’s terrible trade policy.

Why should the American people provide a subsidy to a group (farmers) who were doing just fine before the administration punished them for voting President Trump into office?

The President is a complete fool if he thinks he can manipulate the system of global trade to our advantage. He doesn’t understand it. He barely comprehends it. We are already big winners under the regime. His bluster may even cost more than mere dollars.

Interference in the free market is wrought with unintended consequences. This is an example of one poor policy decision creating another one. Besides, would it be so bad for food costs to be allowed to rise naturally? America is obese. Morbidly so for far too many. Access to calories is obviously fairly cheap and readily available for most. There is so much to say about this topic that goes beyond just the discussion around tariffs, but all in all, this is a dumb move on the administration’s part.

I clicked agree on the basis that the federal government should be responsible for helping those that it hurt with its own policies. Note, however, that I also believe that this serves as further evidence that the Trump administration trade policies are stupid.

It seems to me, if we give aid to the farmers, we are paying for everything twice. Once at the grocery store and once on April 15. Is my thinking simplistic or what?

It’s stupid. We wouldn’t need a bailout if Trump had taken an economics class in college and had been taught that trade wars and tariffs are counterproductive and never work. Why should taxpayers have to pay for Trump’s learning curve?

Don’t start a trade war and then spend tax dollars to subsidize farmers. We have a 20 trillion dollar debt. This makes no sense.

Trump and the Republican majority have already upset the apple cart with their stupendous tax cuts for the rich. Now by going into a tariff trade war, they are pushing farmers into a deeper hole and then trying to bail them out with billions in federal aid. This would be hilarious if it were not true. Over the ocean cliff for all to drown in economic hypocrisy.

Subsidies lead to stupidity — like dumping milk and not planting fields. Farmers want to earn their way, not play silly political games. The answer is not to impose the ridiculous tariffs in the first place. Trump needs to consider the consequences of his ill-conceived actions and not just the macho-man feeling of poking someone in the eye. Ultimately, it becomes an eye for an eye.

I agree that this is better than letting our farmers fail because of his trade policies, but just barely. At the end of the day, we could lose up to a third of our family farms in the state just over the market issues caused by the RUMORS of retaliatory agricultural tariffs from other nations. So, from a food security perspective, once those farms are gone, and we no longer have the ability to produce our own food, we’re in serious trouble. So IF this keeps them afloat, then it’s probably worth it. But let there be no mistake-the underlying trade war is the core issue here. At this point, even if he reversed course on trade, our farmers would probably still need an emergency aid package just to stay alive. Literally. The agricultural suicide rate is 4x the national average.

Suck it up farmers, there are always casualties in war, even if it’s a trade war. You chose this human potato sack to lead the country. Now you can reap what you sow. 

What a waste of taxpayer money! Farmers need trade, not a handout.

Trump supporters are trying to have it both ways. Either free trade is good for the country or is not? The bailout demonstrates that the tariffs are harmful.

The tariffs were 20 years overdue.

It is short term and does nothing for long-term profitability. The farmers say they want predictability, not a one- time bailout.

Attempting to solve one problem by creating another. Fix the trade situation, and there’s no need for federal aid.

Trump should not have imposed the tariffs in the first place. He should let free markets reign.