Monday, July 30, 2018

Tariff-stung Illinois farmers feel pain but keep the faith

Robert Klemm next to corn, on a farm in Waynesville, Illinois begun by his great-grandfather in 1905.


     Robert E. Klemm is a farmer, just like his father before him. And his father’s father before that. And his father’s father’s father before that.
     “I grew up right here,” said Klemm, standing beside a field of corn in Waynesville, Illinois, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, on a farm his great-grandfather worked in 1905. Now he farms 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans, plus raises a smattering of cattle.
     Like most American farmers, he does not mince words about recent shifts in U.S. trade policy.
     “I don’t like the tariffs, as any agricultural producer wouldn’t,” he said. “It’s been very difficult on our economics. And I’m just hoping the president continues the negotiations. I understand the need of it. But it’s hit our pocketbooks really hard … I’m gravely concerned. It’s not going to hurt us. It is hurting us. It has and will.”
     President Donald Trump was elected, in part, by promising to revive domestic American industries such as steel, aluminum and coal. Over the past few months, he has imposed tariffs on imported steel, aluminum and other products from the European Union, Canada, Mexico and particularly China — earlier this month he levied tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products.
     When a country is hit by tariffs, however, it invariably hits back, and retaliatory tariffs slammed a wide swath of American industries, from motorcycles to beer. Harley Davidson announced it is expanding European operations; Budweiser is raising prices to reflect higher cost of cans.


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Corn.



11 comments:

  1. Thanks. Where i had begun to lump all Trump supporters into one of two camps - the outright hateful racist or the slack-jawed faithful - that made me automatically dismiss anything they said, I now know that my reaction was turning me into the very thing i despise. A person who refuses to put aside his or her bias and listen and try to understand those who disagree so a conversation can, at the least, be considered.

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    1. yes Paul there is a lot of that type of thing that goes on. be careful you can get shouted down for saying it. called a concern troll , or be accused of siding with the trump supporters of be mistaken for one of them. specially round here

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    2. "speialy around here"? I don't know what that means. i'm not being flippant, i really don't understand.

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  2. “I’m a man of strong faith,” said Klemm

    There is an endless trail of human wreckage in Trump's wake, the wreckage of people who put trust in the man. Mr. Klemm's faith in a narcissistic con man puts him at risk of being part of that trail of destruction.

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    1. The key is Klemm's statement: "I trust in our government enough." He never mentions Trump.
      Later Neil states: "They're in it for the Long haul." Administrations change. Farmers endure.

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  3. I wonder how long it's going to take those farmers to wake up and realize that Trump isn't going to do anything for them.

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    1. I doubt if it will happen, Scribe. At least in the foreseeable future. I think people form a certain idea of what they believe in and what appeals to that belief, and it’s difficult to think of reversing course. Perhaps it’s too hard or heartbreaking for them to admit they were wrong. Add religious faith to the mix and it becomes almost unthinkable.

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    2. I assume very few people who voted for Trump find themselves wishing Clinton was president instead Frank bruni wrote great piece in the NYT last week and mentioned in it that Americans rejected the idea of lineage presidency in 2016 .First jeb then Hillary . Both major parties put forth candidates in the primaries that made voters have to hold their noses. Bernie and Donald we're the only 2 that excited people in anyway. And Bernie didn't have a TV show so what did we get a meglomaniacal despot. Jokes on all of us. Sadly it looks like he's caused consequences that can't be repaired for decades. Hoping for another recession. Maybe then this nightmare won't last 4 additional years

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    3. Bill Maher got accused of hoping for a recession. Bill Maher said the same thing and got castigated for it. I don't think either of you have to hope for it. I would not be surprised if we don't see another crash.

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  4. So much for heartwarming farm stories. The moral of todays' piece is that Trump is not the disease, but only a symptom. Sure hope there's a cure.

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