“Swift and Ruthless”


While I was busy with quill and ink writing an earlier post, “This here could be a real negative,” unbeknownst to me at the time, the stock market was busy losing two percent of its value.

Meanwhile, someone named Robert Leonard—said to reside in Marion County, Iowa, and to be employed as news director of two radio stations there—has asked, “Will Trump Crash the Farm Economy?

Yes, indeedy, he will do that very thing, allows Mr. Leonard, explaining his reasoning at some length.

[I]t’s the farm economy that rural Iowans are paying particular attention to. When the president first proposed a 20 percent import tax on Mexico to pay for his wall, Iowans objected: Mexico is our second-largest export partner after Canada. …

Most recently, when Mr. Trump imposed $60 billion in tariffs and sanctions against China, the Iowa Soybean Association said his action “poses an immediate and grave threat to their industry and Iowa agriculture.” …

A couple of banker friends who work with farmers every day told me last week that with commodity prices down and the tariffs imposed, approximately 10 percent of our farmers probably won’t make it this year, and 10 percent more will likely fail next year. They also shared the news that in Iowa, larger agribusinesses are buying up smaller farms that are in financial trouble, and that people are starting to make comparisons to the farm crisis of the 1980s, when approximately 10,000 Iowa farmers lost their farms. …

Dairy farmers are particularly hard hit, suffering through four years of declining prices. It’s gotten so bad, dairy farming organizations are giving out suicide hotline numbers, as farmers are committing suicide in the hope that their insurance will save the family farm.

And the result? It will be “swift and ruthless”:

The president’s position is actually quite precarious. He’s already at a historic low approval rating. With the multiple scandals, rampant corruption and the Mueller investigation, the only thing keeping him near 40 percent approval — and most important, approval among most Republicans — is a strong economy. That, and Fox cheerleading. But if he tanks the rural economy, he and his legacy are in deep trouble.

Furthermore, if the rural economy turns sour, much of rural America will abandon Mr. Trump, and Fox may have no choice but to follow.

Then it’s just a matter of time before they will turn with the hope that a Trump impeachment and a Pence presidency will save the economy, the conservative gains that have been made under Trump, and the Republican Party. They’ll believe that they have no choice, and it will be swift and ruthless.