Paul Krugman: Rural Trump voters are in for a major shock
In a brutally blunt column in the New York Times, Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman spelled out how President Donald Trump has sold out the very voters he needed to get elected — those living on farms or in rural communities — and that they may never recover from the financial beating they are taking because of his policies.
According to the economist, “Rural America is a key part of Donald Trump’s base. In fact, rural areas are the only parts of the country in which Trump has a net positive approval rating. But they’re also the biggest losers under his policies.”
“In 2016 Trump pretended to be a different kind of Republican, but in practice almost all of his economic agenda has been G.O.P. standard: big tax cuts for corporations and the rich while hacking away at the social safety net. The one big break from orthodoxy has been his protectionism, his eagerness to start trade wars,” he wrote, adding, “And all of these policies disproportionately hurt farm country.”
“The Trump tax cut largely passes farmers by, because they aren’t corporations and few of them are rich” he explained. “One of the studies by Agriculture Department economists that raised Trumpian ire showed that to the extent that farmers saw tax reductions, most of the benefits went to the richest 10 percent, while poor farmers actually saw a slight tax increase.”
Krugman pointed out that Trump has kept those voters from seeing the true picture by lying to them — despite their on-the-ground knowledge that things are growing worse due to his trade policies and tariffs.
“Of the 100 counties with the highest percentage of their population receiving food stamps, 85 are rural, and most of the rest are in small metropolitan areas,” he pointed out. “The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which Trump keeps trying to kill, had its biggest positive impact on rural areas.”
“A few weeks ago Trump told a cheering rally that his cuts in the estate tax have helped farmers. This claim is, however, totally false; PolitiFact rated it ‘pants on fire,'” he continued. “The reality is that in 2017 only about 80 farms and closely held businesses — that’s right, 80 — paid any estate tax at all. Tales of family farms broken up to pay estate tax are pure fiction. Another answer is to try to suppress the truth. Hence the persecution of Agriculture Department economists who were just trying to do their jobs.”
“And who will pay the price for this degradation? Rural Americans. Trump’s biggest supporters are his biggest victims,” he concluded.
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