The New York Times ran an in-depth story about the difficulties being faced by a Kansas farmer due to Donald Trump’s trade war:
“There is more uncertainty now with trade than since I’ve been farming, 18 years ago,” said Mr. Knopf. “For my generation, this is the first and most extreme trade thing we’ve been through.”
Over the last six months, he has become more skeptical of the president’s policies. In early June, he said: “We’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s a different approach — he’s changing things up. Let’s give it a try.”
This week, Mr. Knopf sounded a darker tone: “It’s frustrating. We haven’t seen a lot of progress.” Chinese tariffs on soybeans have reduced farmers’ incomes, but American tariffs on foreign steel have significantly raised the costs of their machinery and equipment. “We’re on the wrong end of it on both sides,” he said.
The growing cycle has started again, and Mr. Knopf is planning next year’s crop. The meeting this week between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi, he said, is “really important to farmers who are already beginning to think about and make plans for spring.”
Without an accord by planting season, “I think the mood is going to sour pretty quickly,” he said. “Patience will run out.”
Republican Kansas Senator Jerry Moran apparently saw the story about this farmer from the state who elected him, so Jerry Moran decided to react, not by doing anything about it, but instead by sending a tweet, pretending that he was helpless to do anything other than try to make some other people listen:
Justin represents the best of Kansas & agriculture with a deep desire to feed our world. Thank you, Justin, for sharing your story & the importance of trade. I’m working to make certain people in Washington hear it – we can’t afford for them not to. https://t.co/k1PgOZtLP1
— Senator Jerry Moran (@JerryMoran) November 30, 2018
Jerry Moran is a United States Senator. Tariffs are supposed to be the responsibility of Congress. Who else does Jerry Moran think should be acting to stop the tariffs that are hurting his constituents? Who are these “certain people in Washington” Jerry Moran thinks need to be listening? It should be Jerry Moran, and he shouldn’t just be listening, he should be doing something.
And Jerry Moran is not alone in this dereliction of duty as a United States Senator. Most Republican Senators are acting as if they are helpless to do anything about Trump’s trade war. Take Republican Deb Fischer, who represents Nebraska. When a local panel of Nebraska farmers and manufacturers met in Lincoln in October to discuss various issues, one of the issues that came up was Donald Trump’s trade war. As tariffs continued to hurt Midwestern farms and businesses, their opinions were not surprising:
Diane Temme Stinton, chief administrative officer at TMCO Inc., a contract manufacturer, said 25 percent tariffs on steel from several countries have led to an “environment of great instability in manufacturing.”
Quotes from suppliers that used to be good for weeks are now only good for 24 hours, she said, and the company is having to adjust to deal with rising costs.
Temme Stinton said the tariffs are benefiting an industry, steel production, that employs a little over 400,000 people in the U.S., while at the same time hurting manufacturers that use steel, which employ about 4.6 million people.
“In the manufacturing industry as a whole we are all losing,” said Temme Stinton, whose father, Roland Temme, founded the business in 1974. The metal manufacturing company has about 200 employees.
Bruce Bohrer, executive vice president and general counsel for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, said a large manufacturer in Lincoln, which he did not name, has seen its costs increase by $5 million since the steel tariffs went into effect.
“I’m definitely hearing from businesses (that are) concerned” about tariffs,” Bohrer said.
Don Hutchens, who led the Nebraska Corn Board for 27 years before retiring in 2014, said the state’s farmers are seeing a double-whammy from the president’s trade policies.
Tariffs instituted on China earlier this year led to retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. that targeted agricultural products such as soybeans, leading to lower prices. At the same time, farmers are faced with higher prices on steel needed to build grain bins, machine sheds and other buildings.
These very legitimate concerns about Trump’s tariffs have been in the news and on the minds of farmers and businesses in Nebraska for months. So, what was Nebraska’s Republican Senator Deb Fischer doing about this? Tweeting about how she was “optimistic” about Donald Trump:
Opening up new markets will help NE producers prosper and feed the world. I welcome the start of trade negotiations between our country and #Japan, #EU, & #UK. I’m optimistic @realDonaldTrump & the administration will make good deals for our ag producers and manufacturers.
— Senator Deb Fischer (@SenatorFischer) October 16, 2018
Why are these Republican Senators refusing to do anything about a trade war that is hurting their constituents? The Constitution gave Congress the power over tariffs, not the President.
Now, on tariffs the Constitution is crystal clear, stating, “The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”
Congress is a co-equal branch of government. They should not be allowing the President to be usurping one of their duties in a manner that is detrimental to the country. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows Trump’s trade war is harmful to the country. He warned Trump about it in June:
“I don’t think anything good will come out of a trade war,” McConnell said during an appearance Friday before Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce. “And I hope we pull back from the brink here. Because these tariffs will not be good for the economy.”
Yet, here is Mitch McConnell, on June 6, 2018, 3 days after he said tariffs will not be good for the economy, shooting down an attempt to reign in Trump’s trade war:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled on Wednesday that he will not support legislation reining in President Trump‘s tariff authority and that the president will not sign such a bill.
“Yeah, I don’t think we need to be trying to rein in the president through legislation. No. 1, it would be an exercise in futility because he wouldn’t sign it,” McConnell told SiriusXM when asked if he opposed the bill.McConnell was asked about legislation, spearheaded by GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), that would require Trump to get congressional approval for any tariffs invoked under the national security sections of the trade law, known as Section 232.
Republican Senators continue to choose party over people. They are blindly supporting Donald Trump because he is a Republican, even when his policies are hurting the people and businesses in the states they are supposed to be representing, then they are pretending as if they are powerless to do anything. What good are they?