After 18 months, our trade war with China is getting old. The “short-term” pain is starting to look “long-term,” while the hoped-for gain is retreating into the indefinite future.
Farmers are falling behind on their loans, and in some cases going bankrupt. That was expected. When and how will relief come? No one knows what to expect. Even if the trade war ends tomorrow (which no one expects), the Chinese market, which absorbed 27 percent of our soybeans only a few years ago, is lost to us for decades.
If farmers aren’t benefiting, who is? Not the manufacturing sector. Growth there has been slowing since the trade war began. According to Marketwatch (July 16, 2019), “U.S. manufacturing ‘is in recession,’ Fed’s data show,” and The Street (Sept. 3, 2019) reported that “For U.S. Manufacturers Hit by Trade War, the Recession Is Already Here.” The steel industry was supposed to benefit especially from the tariffs. It didn’t turn out that way, did it?
Meanwhile, our local congressmen, Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood, both say they’ve counseled the administration to show restraint. I’m sure that’s true if they say so, but if they’ve managed to influence the administration’s policy any, I see no evidence of it.
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Maybe it’s time to elect a new administration, and some new members of Congress, too.
Richard A. Chandler,