The Donald Trump bailouts to U.S. farmers affected by his unnecessary trade war with China have now ballooned to $28 billion. If you want to know whether that’s a lot of money in the grand government scheme of things, it’s over double what the government ended up paying to save the U.S. automotive industry during the 2008 Great Recession. Those efforts, by both Bush and Obama, had Republicans absolutely spittle-flecked in their outrage. A chap named Mitt Romney wrote a now-famous op-ed condemning the plan; Trump and his mini-me vice president both have themselves been vocal in their opposition to that bailout.
That’s money that China would have been paying our farmers—and in fact only a small fraction of what China would have been paying our farmers—for their crops had an incompetent and disinterested president not declared that trade wars are “easy to win” while launching into several in an apparent bid to prove toughness, despite nobody asking him to. But it turns out that trade wars are not easy to win. It also turns out that cutting farmers off from one of their largest markets tends to make them think twice about voting for an incompetent raging dullard.
Curiously, there have been no tea party demonstrations featuring extremely white conservatives in period headgear shouting their outrage at pissing away $28 billion of taxpayer money for a government-sponsored Trump vanity effort. There are no Midwestern Republican lawmakers expressing distain for such an obvious foray into real-world socialism. The conservative punditry is sounding no alarm.
This would no doubt be surprising to anyone who took either the tea party or conservative small-government blubbering seriously. The good news, then, is that it is only the pundit class that risks being surprised.