WALL STREET JOURNAL: Tariffs First, Farm Subsidies Later?

Wall Street Journal: Written by the Editorial Board. April 13, 2018.

The Obama Administration tried to put the coal industry out of business, and in the 2016 presidential campaign Hillary Clinton proposed subsidies to ease the financial pain government had created. The question is why President Trump would adopt this economic method with an idea to increase subsidies to farmers hurt by the Trump tariffs.

Mr. Trump has been getting an earful about the damage that his tariffs-first trade policy might do to U.S. farmers if countries like China retaliate. But instead of dropping the tariffs, Mr. Trump and some of his advisers are floating the idea of increasing farm subsidies to compensate, say, soybean farmers whose export sales and incomes fall. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley also likes tariff income redistribution.

Another bad idea is to subsidize farmers through the Commodity Credit Corporation, the New Deal program that can borrow up to $30 billion from the Treasury. Just what America needs: More government debt to pay off voters hurt by U.S. government policy.

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