The Trump administration has once again been called upon to carry out some kind of compensation for the American victims of Trump foreign policy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that a $12 billion package is being put together by the Trump administration as a “bailout” to farmers who have been affected by the Tariffs imposed by the president. Another Trump policy decision has been shown to be harmful to the American people.
The bailout program will be administered in three ways: firstly, direct payments will be made to farmers who have been harmed by the tariffs. Secondly, a food purchase program will be set up to buy the unsold food and distribute it to food banks. Lastly, a new initiative will be created in conjunction with the private sector to create new export markets for the crops.
It has been explained that the $12 billion program has been set up to deal with the $11 billion that has been lost due to the ongoing US created trade tensions with various countries, primarily China. Officlas have said that Congression approval is not required for the program to be initiated, only that Congress must be informed of it. Many details are still being worked out, including how farmers can apply for this assistance.
Damage is already showing from Trump’s policy decisions. The price of soybeans has dropped 19% since May which reaches a 10 year low. Meanwhile, the price of corn is down 15%. This is particularly significant when we consider that corn is heavily subsidized by the US government. Already the agricultural sector has been having losses of up to 50% since 2013. The USDA predicts it will drop to negative $1,300 this year. To make matters even worse the debt-to-income ratios for farmers are at a 34-year high.
Since taking office Trump has made all manner of aggressive policies towards long-standing economic partners. It has been Trump’s modus operandi to alleged that the US has had a “raw deal” in negotiating trade agreements with other countries.
What we see here is Trump failing to understand how and why trade agreements exist.
Trade agreements are hammered out by countries as a means of negotiating the competing interest of the capitalist class. The capitalist class in country A requires goods from country B, and vice versa. However, they are still locked in an overall competition via capital accumulation. Trade agreements are mean to lubricate the exchange of commodities between countries in a way that can be beneficial to both parties. (This is, of course, assuming that both sides are imperialist and not held by imperialism.)
Trump, by contrast, sees himself in a position to weaken the other side for his own countries’ benefit. To him, this is a matter of national pride and his own ego making these gains. He thinks he’s doing something to boost the US economy when he’s, in fact, doing the opposite. Trade agreements are carefully crafted by representatives of the capitalist class on both sides to facilitate the flow of capitalism. Trump has set upon a course to sabotage that.
Already those countries affected by the tariffs have begun seeking new deals with other countries. China, the EU, the UK, Canada, and others have begun negotiations amongst themselves to make up for the loss of the US as a trading partner. Other countries are prepared to deal with a global economy without the US. One day, when the trade nonsense comes to an end, the US may find itself without adequate allies to trade with.
What Trump is really doing is upsetting the capitalist world order. It’s a carefully crafted balance between different capitalists. His actions will lead to instability. The result will be everyone scrambling to save themselves. Trump, is attempting to overturn the game board in a fit because he wants to make the US have all the advantages in trade for his own ego, the ability to say he made America’s position in the world better.
At the same time, there’s a growing “resistance” among US capitalists. They see what Trump is doing as a road to ruin. They’re mobilizing various forces to counter his presidency. NGOs, media groups, etc. are being used to undermine his leadership as president. They want a return to the status quo, a position that has a relative stability. On the other side, there is a section of the capitalist class that supports Trump due to policies such as lowering taxes and eliminating regulations.
What we’re seeing most of all is a clash between sections of the capitalist class in the US, and with those in other countries. Those contradictions are made all the more antagonistic by the reckless actions of the president. This not only creates instability but opens up possibilities for real struggle if the situation reaches a crisis point.
Trump has made capitalism less stable. This may, in turn, open up revolutionary possibilities.