Free Trade

Trump's Farm Bailout Has Cost Over $10 Billion This Year

Trump has authorized up to $16 billion in bailout spending this year, on top of $12 billion spent in 2018.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now spent more than $10 billion this year to bail out farmers affected by President Donald Trump's trade war, according to updated U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Illinois and Iowa have received more than $1 billion each, while Minnesota, Texas, and Kansas have received more than $700 million each, according to the USDA's data. The bailout payments cover a wide variety of crops, and allow farmers to receive between $15 and $150 per acre, depending on what crops and where in the country the farm is located.

Trump has authorized up to $16 billion in bailout spending this year, on top of $12 billion spent in 2018.

All told, the price tag for Trump's trade war farm bailout now far exceeds the $12 billion in net losses (after loans were repaid) incurred by the Obama administration to bail out domestic auto manufacturers in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis—a policy that was roundly criticized by Republicans and by Trump.

Trump says the farm bailout is being paid for by China, but that's inaccurate in two ways. First, the tariff revenue that's supposedly covering the cost of the bailout is coming from American consumers and businesses that are paying higher taxes because of Trump's tariffs.

Second, the tariff revenue is insufficient to cover the cost of the bailout.

But even if the math added up, the farm bailout would be poor policy. Trump is trying to shield farmers from the loss of a huge export market; China has largely cut-off purchases of American agricultural goods in response to American tariffs on Chinese-made goods. But bailout checks are a poor substitute for a free market. An analysis of the bailout by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an agricultural policy watchdog, shows that the government largess is flowing mostly to large farms and is not adequately covering farmers' losses.

According to EWG's analysis of more than $6 billion in bailout funds distributed between early July and the end of October, half went to just 10 percent of all recipients. The bottom 80 percent of recipients received an average of just $5,130. And thanks to what the group calls "laughably lax eligibility rules," relatives with no direct connection to farms can cash-in on the bailout—a problem that has long plagued other forms of farm subsidies.

No wonder many farmers say they would much rather be able to sell their goods to China than wait for government checks to arrive.

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  1. Oh, Eric, don’t you know that tariffs aren’t taxes? Therefore they must be welfare, and since they are Trump’s tariffs, they are also Trump’s welfare, and this is just more of the same.

    Long Live Trumpfare!

    1. Man, who cares about this when, as Rand informed us, the government spent $22 million on Serbian cheese and zebrafish. Zebrafish!

    2. Tariffs are equivalent to consumption taxes. Consumption taxes are a good way of reducing the deficit and the debt. So I’m perfectly OK with new taxes, as should be any libertarian.

    3. Poor hack writer Boehm.

      Trump’s Farm Bailout Has Cost Over $10 Billion This Year

      Pre-trump Trade restrictions have cost Americans trillions. TRILLIONS.

      Maybe China will finally pay for American tech licenses, which would bring in hundreds of billions.

    4. Tariffs have generated 5 times the amount given to farmers.

      1. Never-mind; what was given has been “given” for the last 30-years. It’s hardly a “new” subsidy.

    5. WHY DO YOU KEEP BLAMING TRUMP!!!!!! Democrats in Congress OVER-OVERWHELMINGLY voted to UPHOLD the 2019 farm subsidy carried on by the OBAMA administration.

      While 13-Republicans voted against it……… Are you really pretending that if Trump had congressional support to end farm subsidies that he’d VETO it?????!!!!!! I call B.S.

  2. Normally, I’d just point out my long-held position that farmers are the original communist special-pleader welfare queens and the entire farm welfare scam needs to be killed even more than the Ex-Im Bank, but since Our Lord And Savior Donald J Trump has opened our hearts to the wisdom, righteousness and sanctity of big-spending, big-government liberal welfare state programs, I feel compelled to denounce your heresy and your traitorous blasphemy and call for you to be burned at the stake like the demonic witch that you are.

    1. J, you might find this bumper sticker amusing:

      “If you must criticize farmers,
      don’t do it with your mouth full.”

      1. Especially with Farmer dick.

    2. I feel compelled to denounce your heresy and your traitorous blasphemy and call for you to be burned at the stake like the demonic witch that you are.”
      The progs always imagine everyone is just like them.
      They’re pro-Trump plebians, Jerryskids. Not university staff, DNC acolytes or community organizers.

    3. Trump is not a libertarian, he’s a moderate conservative. Moderate conservatives are big spenders, just like moderate liberals, they just prefer spending on agriculture, business, and defense, as opposed to welfare and the environment. Agree or not with them, there is nothing particularly inconsistent about it. Furthermore, to stay in power, these are the kinds of policies he needs to adopt.

      Next election, Trump will be facing either a moderate “liberal” or a democratic socialist. So the question still comes down to which position agrees more with my preferences. And, while I prefer generally smaller government, given political realities, I prefer Trump’s policies to those of Obama, Clinton, Biden, or any of the democratic socialists that are running.

      Furthermore, given fiscal realities, I also prefer any candidate who imposes high consumption taxes on the middle class until our debt is paid off.

  3. I thought the tea party hated bailouts?! Oh wait, someone else was president. (Reason Commentariot thinks it’s ok to go but Bush)

    1. You won’t find many Trumpalos commenting on this article.

      1. But plenty of shallow religious zealots, and at least one eunuch

  4. Is 10 Billion suppose to be a lot of money? Many on the left doesn’t seem to think so.

    1. It’s about 0.9% of this year’s borrowing.

  5. Wait….Is Boehm telling us that we are tanking China’s economy for only 10B/year? 🙂

    It isn’t about the money, anymore. It is all about Red China’s malign behavior. 10B is cheap considering all the useless shit government spends money upon.

    1. Indeed. In TEN years of this, it’ll have cost us… (that is “ONE”) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.

      Which works better as a foreign policy instrument – a shiny new jet fighter or a decade of crippling tariffs on Chinese exports ?

      As a matter of economics, Trump’s Chinese tariffs suck. But to the barely detectable extent of a few billion. But they’re not economic policy, they’re foreign policy. And as such they’re amazingly cheap.

      (Moreover, the argument that Americans pay for the tariffs applies cuts bth pays. The folk who get farming subsidies are American too.)

    2. It sure beats a military conflict.

    3. Wait….Is Boehm telling us that we are tanking China’s economy for only 10B/year?

      It’s spelled T-r-u-m-p, who says that.
      And his cult who swallows it..

      PLUS, your math sucks,

      Second, the tariff revenue is insufficient to cover the cost of the bailout.

      Or your reading?
      What Boehm tells us is you’re a misinformed sucker, which you’ve confirmed.
      While disgracing Ayn Rand, yet again.

      1. Fuck off, Hihn. Go back to losing inconsequential political races and annoying the relatives at the holidays as the drunk uncle.

        1. Too infantile for a response.

          (I was elected twice, never lost a race, which makes you another gullible puppet.)

  6. I don’t like subsidies, but hasn’t this bailout been par for the course for the last 45 years? An annual event?
    What makes this year so different under Trump?

    1. Hard to say. It seems that it is in addition to commodity subsidy, disaster relief and crop insurance to cover for loss in exports since the tariff war.

    2. This one is caused by Tariffs.

      So, what you’ve said is, current income tax rates are oka

  7. Yet more evidence of Trump’s failures, across the board. To this, add the President’s two latest comments. That he’s close to the biggest and most wondrous trade deal ever, with China (all other such claims have exploded in his puss). Plus he admits he will not criticize China on Hong Kong, to (suck up) to Xi. So, yet again, Trump has caved to a foreign dictator, here to save his imaginary trade deal. The Art of the Deal … caving in.

  8. So what? We have grocery stores full of good food at reasonable prices. Whatever our farm policy is, it appears to be working.
    Now, if you need to be critical of something, perhaps our educational system, with an ever-decreasing return on investment, would be a great place to begin.

    1. Umm, the tariffs are not on FOOD from China. He did say you’d defend him, even if he shot somebody to death on Fifth Avenue, with witnesses.

  9. Trump’s Farm Bailout Has Cost Nancy Pelosi’s Crumbs

  10. How much does the government spend on farm subsidies not chargeable to Trump’s tatiffs?

    1. Relevance?

      1. Perspective, comparison, relative scale of the change. That sort of thing.

        1. Yes, but you forgot: ORANGE MAN BAD!

          1. Your denial is a severe mental disorder. THAT childish scream is even more psychotic than FAKE NEWS.

        2. (lol) Bailouts are always wrong. But each fior a different reason.
          This is using taxpayer dollars to bail out a Presidential fuckup.
          The opposite would be NOT spending congressionally approved money, to threaten a political rival, roughly the same as BEGGING Russia to hack Hillary’s server, or his son KNOWINGLY conspiring with the Russian government to help elect his father.

  11. Thanks to WW 2, the US replaced GB as the world military and world economic empire. The US dollar replaced gold as the world reserve currency. Since then, gold has been valued in US dollars. US dollars are not valued in OZ of gold. We are in an economic war with China to defend the US empire and the US dollar.

    If we were in a war for land and natural resources, the cost would be costed by the number of dead GIs. Any of you prefer to pay for this war in dead GIs? We would run out of living GIs much sooner than China would run out of Chinese soldiers.

    The only reason the US has the richest and laziest poor people in the world is that the US dollar is the world reserve currency. We are so rich that our fiscal middle class think they are the social middle class. The average class (mean) class are the social middle class.

    In Seattle, the average person probably earns $50K more than the median person. Minimum wage is $15/hours yet half the public school children are qualified for reduced price school lunches. With 2 adults earning minimum wage, that’s $66K/year. $66K is the very bottom income for 2 adults might earn.

    Google modal, median and mean income and then think about it.

    1. Average is not a good statistic to use when trying to estimate standards of living in a cohort because incomes of the highest earners are so much higher than the bulk of the population. The average becomes much higher than what the midpoint of the population earns. Median is more meaningful. Is that what you are trying to say?

  12. Hey Boehm.

    DOW Jones rocking to all time highs!


    1. I googled Seattle. You’re nuts.

    2. Hey Goober,

  13. The obvious win win proposal here, is to offer Trump his $6 billion wall, the farmers get nothing (maybe they wanted a wall?) but lose nothing, and the taxpayers save $4 billion.

  14. And in REAL news —
    Trump, “I propose we eliminate renewal of the farm bill.”
    ALL Democrats, “NO WAY!!!”
    13-Republicans, “OKAY!!!”
    Media, “Trump’s Farm Bailout bill”

    What a way to build a FALSE narrative.


      Fox News:
      Senate overwhelmingly votes to renew farm programs

      (Does he even know the Senate is Republican?
      Does he know what the Senate is?
      A farm?

      1. “The vote was 87-13.” — The 13 votes were ALL from Republicans. Not a SINGLE Democrat voted against it.

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