To hear President Trump tell it, the calculus is simple.
Yes, farmers are feeling the pain of Trump’s trade war. China retaliated against tariffs imposed by the United States by adding tariffs of their own to American-made products, including crops. On Monday, soybean futures hit their lowest price in a decade.
But, Trump argues, those tariffs are “being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products.” Farmers, he claims, will end up being the “biggest beneficiaries of what is happening now” because either China will soon resume buying American crops or the United States “will be making up the difference” using “the massive Tariffs being paid to the United States.” Win-win.
The problems with that equation are twofold. First, China isn’t paying all of the tariffs and much of the increased cost is being incurred by American consumers. Second, we can look at the support being given to farmers in another light: Trump is taxing consumers to bolster farmers, a core part of his political base.