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Donald Trump has swooped to the rescue of farm-state voters who might notice that his trade war is starting to hurt their businesses, with a $12 billion package of bailouts. The welfare checks are aimed at offsetting some of the damage wrought by tariffs imposed by China and other countries on our soybeans and pig knuckles, just because we did tariffs to them first. It's just the best possible use of federal money to make up for a president's own terrible decisions you could ever dream of.

The aid package has three main parts: Direct payments to farmers, who won't even have to get pee tested for their vote-Republican welfare; a commodities purchase program, in which the Department of Agriculture will buy unsold ag products and distribute them to food banks (rejoice! government cheese returns!); and a program to develop agricultural trade with countries Trump hasn't pissed off just yet, should any actually be located.

And in a masterstroke of administrative fuckery that avoids Congress having to pass any troublesome appropriations, the Bale-Out (get it?) will be magically paid for out of a Depression-era program aimed at providing emergency relief to farmers, which is pretty awesome since Trump created the emergency his own bad self. The Commodity Credit Corporation, part of the Department of Agriculture, is a New Deal agency that allows the executive branch to borrow up to $30 billion for farm aid. The USDA explained in a statement that the spending will go to producers of several key commodities: corn, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, dairy, and hogs. Saith the USDA,

This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.

Nope, no mention of why those markets got themselves "disrupted" or how the producers ended up with surplus commodities they can't sell for export. The free market is sometimes just a really fickle thing.

Not surprisingly, a lot of farmers are none too delighted about being offered a bribe to pretend they're not losing money from Trump's trade policies. Illinois soybean farmer Dave Kestel told CBS News that despite looking at a record harvest this year, soybean prices are dropping and he faces a 20-percent lower profit, assuming he can sell his crop. He still thinks Trump's tough trade policy will eventually make America great, because faith is a remarkable thing, although he says farmers will take the hit now. As for the bailout?

"I mean, I understand they're trying to help us. I get that. But it's not a long-term fix. It's a pacifier, so to speak," Kestel said. "I'd rather not have it."

Other farmers CBS News spoke with say they too would pass on the government aid. They insist they want to make their own pay.

Oh, come now, CBS: Kestel said he'd rather not have it, not that he wouldn't take it. It's just that like Craig T. Nelson, good Trump voters know that "welfare" is totally different than when they get government money:

They're not going to bail me out. I've been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No.

Republican lawmakers have, of course, been making Appropriately Concerned noises with their mouth-parts about what a terrible thing this bailout is, because what about the deficit and the debt we're leaving for their children? Senate Ag Committee chair Pat Roberts, of Kansas, said the bailouts were "Problematic to say the least," and Sen. John Thune, of South Dakota, said the awful awful subsidies constitute "an additional payment that's going to be made by the taxpayers," oh dear.

And won't it be a shame if all that debt leads to voters in farm states like Kansas and South Dakota deciding they'll keep giving Trump and his party another chance to make them rich from all the winning?

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[CBS News / WaPo / Washington Examiner / NBC News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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