Agriculture Secretary gets booed by farmers for cracking bad jokes about their 'whining'
Farmers are filing for bankruptcy at record rates, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue mocked farmers for "whining" about Trump's trade war.
"What do you call two farmers in a basement?" Perdue joked with a group of Minnesota farmers last Wednesday.
"A whine cellar," Perdue said, eliciting boos from the crowd, according to Agri-Pulse.
Perdue's joke came two days after China announced it will stop buying all U.S. agricultural products from the United States in retaliation for Trump slapping an additional 10% tariff on all products from China.
As Perdue makes jokes at the expense of farmers and Trump throws up ever more roadblocks, farmers are struggling to earn a living.
"Trump is ruining our markets," Bob Kuylen, a North Dakota farmer, told CNBC over the weekend. "No one is buying our product no more, and we have no markets no more." Kuylen lost $70 per acre this year, and Trump's bailout for farmers only pays him $15 per acre.
"There's no incentive to keep farming, except that I've invested everything I have in farming, and it's hard to walk away," he said.
At the event where Perdue made his joke, farmers tried to tell the administration about their pain.
Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Brian Thalmann admonished Perdue and the Trump administration for downplaying the hard times faced by him and other farmers.
"We're not starting to do great again," Thalmann said, according to Agri-Pulse. "Things are going downhill very quickly."
Thalmann wasn't alone. Joel Schreurs, a member of the American Soybean Association, told Perdue, "We've worked a long time to develop these markets." Even if the trade war ends tomorrow, the markets are "not going to come back in a day or two."
Perdue's response was to chide Schreurs and other soybean producers for becoming too dependent on one market — China — for their product.
Farmers are not the only ones feeling the economic hardship Trump's trade war is causing. Consumers across the country are paying more for shoes, toys, washing machines, and plenty of other products. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admits Trump's trade war is nothing more than a tax hike on Americans.
Economists at Goldman Sachs say the trade war is so devastating to the U.S. economy that it could lead to a recession.
But rather than take the concerns of consumers and farmers seriously, Trump's top agriculture official is cracking jokes and mocking those who are struggling.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Dan Desai Martin.