Nov 02, 2018

We Need Fewer Tariffs, Not More Farm Aid

Post by Freedom Partners

The avoidable costs of ill-conceived tariffs continue to mount.

To help farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs levied on American dairy products in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs, Washington recently started cutting bailout checks. Now, in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the National Milk Producers Federation says it’s not enough.

“Estimates show that farmer losses from the tariffs will notably exceed $1 billion in 2018. Significant income losses will continue if they stay in place,” the letter reads. “The USDA’s approach has resulted in only $127 million in market facilitation payments … on one-half of our annual production. Based on the analyses … this falls far short of the losses dairy producers have faced.”

That $127 million was part of the $12 billion in assistance announced by the Trump administration.

The administration also announced plans to purchase more than $1 billion worth of pork, apples, oranges and other agriculture products — another avoidable waste of taxpayer dollars.

Not to mention, producers are just one section of the agriculture industry that is struggling to keep its head above water in the current trade climate. There are grain elevators that store soybeans, farm equipment vendors, ocean carriers, shipping companies. In the supply chain, a hard hit to one link affects everyone else — who may be wondering, “Where’s my government aid?”

Rather than doubling down on more taxpayer-funded handouts, the only way to get the agriculture industry — and other American industries harmed by trade — back on track is to eliminate tariffs. As long as there are barriers to trade, there will never be enough government aid to make up for the losses.