Bob Schwartz

Trump Turns to a Depression-era Solution to Help the Farmers He Is Hurting

Library of Congress, Farm Foreclosure Sale in Iowa, ca. 1930-1940

Washington Post:

White House readies plan for $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers caught in Trump’s escalating trade war

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday plans to announce a $12 billion package of emergency aid for farmers caught in the midst of President Trump’s escalating trade war, two people briefed on the plan said, the latest sign that growing tensions between the United States and other countries will not end soon….

The money would be extended just as voters in some of the most heavily impacted states are preparing to cast votes in the midterm elections. There are several key Senate races in farm dependent states like Missouri, North Dakota, and Indiana this November, and the outcome of those races could determine who controls the chamber next year.

The White House has searched for months for a way to provide emergency assistance to farmers without backing down on Trump’s trade agenda, and the new program will extend roughly $12 billion through three mechanisms run by the Department of Agriculture.

The funds will come through direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program. It will rely in part on a Depression-era program called the Commodity Credit Corporation, a division of the Agriculture Department created in 1933 to offer a financial backstop for farmers.

So the damage Trump is doing to farmers with his unnecessary and universally condemned trade war is potentially so great that he is turning to a solution from the Depression. Whether you call that telling, ironic or simply surreal, it is just one more milestone on a road to American parts strange and unknown—or more likely a road to nowhere.

To faithful Trump supporters: God doesn’t hate you but Satan loves you

The Trump administration said yesterday that 463 parents separated from their children at the southern border were no longer in the United States, having likely already been deported.

This is part of an announced plan to use border separations as a way to discourage migrants from coming to America. It is a sort of terrorism. What could be more terrorizing to a parent than the threat of being separated from your child forever?

Theology seems to play a major role in support for Trump among a number of faithful Americans. We frequently hear, for example, that Trump’s election was part of God’s plan. So that whatever Trump’s shortcomings relative to Christian morality, God still approves, and so should we.

Looking at the tragic border policy that Trump is pursuing and can’t (and doesn’t want to) fix, and the fact that hundreds of children will unnecessarily never see their parents again, it is worth thinking about theology.

What if God doesn’t really care about our elections? Frankly, God might beneficially stay as far away as possible from that nonsense and focus on more important human situations.

But Satan, that’s another story. Sowing chaos and tragedy is his stock in trade. How better to crush true faith than to disguise every evil impulse and inclination as the embodiment of good? In this scheme, separating loving parents from children appears not just as a good idea but as a divine directive. Trump couldn’t do better if he was working for Satan himself.