“He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”
Farmers facing record bankruptcies and collapsing incomes due to President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China were not amused by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s joke about their economic pain during an event in Minnesota last week.
“I had a farmer tell me this in Pennsylvania,” Perdue told an audience of thousands of farmers gathered in a barn near Morgan, Minnesota. “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.”
Some laughed at the agriculture secretary’s joke, but other farmers booed and denounced Perdue’s wisecrack as callous and tone-deaf mockery of the real hardship caused by the Trump administration’s trade policies.
“It was definitely not an appropriate thing to say,” Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, told HuffPost on Monday. “It was very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise. He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”
Farm income is way down, bankruptcies are way up, and farmers are relying on government payments to make ends meet.
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) August 13, 2019
Perdue’s characterization of struggling farmers as “whiners” came after the Trump administration announced it will impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods starting Sept. 1, a significant escalation in the ongoing trade war between the two global powers.
China quickly retaliated by canceling all purchases of U.S. agricultural products, a move American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall called “a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”
With farmers suffering from his trade policies, Trump has attempted to tamp down backlash with targeted aid packages—but, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), most of the assistance has gone to wealthy farmers.
Meanwhile, as HuffPost reported on Monday, “Net farm income in America has plunged by nearly half over the last five years from $123.4 billion in 2013 to $63 billion last year. It plummeted by 16 percent last year alone.”
Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said last week that Trump’s “strategy of constant escalation and antagonism” toward China has “made things worse.”
“It’s really, really getting bad out here,” added Bob Kuylen, a North Dakota farmer, in an interviewwith CNBC. “Trump is ruining our markets.”
Republicans planted a time bomb in their tax cut bill that will actually raise most people’s taxes: economist
On Saturday, writing for The New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that many people's taxes are about to go up.
But it's not because Joe Biden's campaign plan raises taxes, as President Donald Trump has repeatedly and falsely claimed. It's because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — the controversial tax cut bill passed by Republicans on a party-line vote in 2017 — has a provision that will start slowly raising taxes next year. And ultimately, Stiglitz warned, many low and middle income people will actually pay more than they did before the bill passed in the first place.
REVEALED: Far-right extremists are circulating plans to lock down Arizona streets if Trump is re-elected
On Saturday, The Arizona Republic reported that far-right paramilitary groups are circulating plans to lock down neighborhoods in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area in the event that President Donald Trump is re-elected, supposedly to police left-wing protesters.
"In Arizona, the head of the Prescott-area chapter of the Oath Keepers group, which recruits military and law enforcement officers, has warned residents to be prepared to protect their neighborhoods from feared extreme left-wing protesters who would be upset should President Donald Trump be re-elected," reported Richard Ruelas. "Part of that the pro-Trump group'splan involved closing streets and assigning monitors to control access, according to a planning document shared with The Republic."
Conservatives are hopping mad that their clumsy Hunter Biden smear is a flop
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
In 2016, Steve Bannon did an amazing job rolling out the Clinton Foundation nontroversy. He gave The New York Times and CNN early access to Peter Schweizer's book, Clinton Cash, and the outlets gave it mainstream credibility. Later, when the Uranium One story was thoroughly debunked, it didn't matter. The foundation remained under a pall of fuzzy suspicions.