IN THIS ISSUE:

1. American Farm Bankruptcies Spiked 20% Last Year
2. Trump’s Payments to Farmers: Mother of All Bailouts
3. President Obama Claims Credit For Strong Economy
4. Victor Davis Hanson: A Fitting Tribute to Rush Limbaugh

American Farm Bankruptcies Spiked 20% Last Year

American farmers faced a surge of bankruptcies in 2019, up 20%, despite aid efforts from Washington. The Trump administration allocated a record $28 billion in aid for farmers affected by his trade war with China in the past two years (more on this below), but bankruptcies were recorded at the highest level since 2011, according to a recent study by the American Farm Bureau.

The Bureau said there were 595 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies last year. Last year's 20% spike in bankruptcies lags only the 33% surge seen in 2010, the year after the Great Recession. Farms in Wisconsin generated the highest number of bankruptcy filings last year at 57 followed by Georgia with 41, the Bureau reported.

Farm bankruptcies were at or above decade-high levels in 10 states: Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to CBS News.

In addition to retaliatory tariffs from Beijing that hurt soybean exports, US farms were also impacted by President Donald Trump's trade negotiations with Mexico and China. "The trade wars were salt in an existing wound," said Kara O'Connor, government relations director at the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

The White House's “Phase One” accord with Beijing stipulates that China will purchase up to $200 billion in US goods in the next two years, including an estimated $30-$40 billion in agricultural products like soybeans and pork, offering some relief to American farmers. But that was too little, too late for many US farmers who suffered from reduced production as a result of the rain-delayed planting season and depressed market prices.

Trump’s Payments to US Farmers: The Mother of All Bailouts

President Trump’s trade-related payments to American farmers have quietly become the Mother of All Bailouts. Back when General Motors and Chrysler faced bankruptcy in the wake of the Great Recession, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama pumped tens of billions into a rescue of the auto industry – all of which was repaid except for the remaining $12 billion which wasn’t.