The United States economy is continuing to reel from President Donald Trump’s incessant punitive globe-spanning tariffs, and the measures the White House has been undertaking to try and offset the effects aren’t exactly having the kind of impact they might be marketing. According to a new analysis of data released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the “top one-tenth of recipients received 54 percent of all” payments made so far as part of a subsidy program imposed to try and help offset effects of other countries retaliating by cutting off purchases of U.S. goods. Trump has at times promised dramatic steps forward for American industry, but these haven’t materialized, and many of the retaliatory tariffs remain in place.
Going further down the line, EWG also reports that “eighty-two farmers have so far received more than $500,000” as part of the subsidy program. The advocacy group also notes that although the Agriculture Department had initially claimed they’d be capping payments at $125,000, they have since chosen to “allow relatives who do not contribute meaningful work on the farm to receive farm payments, allowing many farm businesses to evade the cap” as the checks add up. In short — those towards the top of the income chain are receiving the lion’s share of the money, even as Trump continues to parade himself as sticking up for the “forgotten” people of the United States or whatever.
Trump refuses to even get the basic facts of the situation that he himself has created straight, so it’s right in line with precedent that his supposedly great restitution plan is having questionable at best effects. Although there’s an impact down the line of lower imports from other countries, which affects those countries’ economies, in the short term — it’s Americans who are paying the import taxes. Trump, however, has claimed that the revenue from the tariffs (which supposedly helps make up for their negative effects) is coming from the targeted countries. It’s not. It’s a tax on Americans — recognition of this fact is what led the GOP itself to get up in arms over a threat from Trump to place a tariff on every single import from Mexico. Those plans were halted.
Besides Mexico and China, Trump has also targeted U.S. trading partners from Canada to the European Union to South Korea and Japan.
Among other proposals, the Trump administration currently has a revised version of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) involving Canada and Mexico awaiting Congressional approval, but it’s unclear where if anywhere that will go in the present Congress.
The irony is — Trump continues to run on a platform of supposed economic greatness, claiming that the present economy is greater than any in U.S. history. In reality, even Trump’s immediate predecessor Barack Obama achieved at least some economic growth rates above those achieved by the Trump administration, which still has not seen that annual rate crack 3%, despite their longing and stumping for the milestone. It turns out that favoring the wealthy doesn’t have magical effects for the economy. Who knew.
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