The $12 billion that the Trump administration has pledged to American farmers to offset the cost of new tariffs is just a small piece of the pie, according to a new US Chamber of Commerce analysis.
Congress members in Maine and Massachusetts are already asking for comparable welfare for fishermen based on the farmer aid. According to the national pro-business group’s calculations, if comparable corporate welfare was offered to every industry in the US affected by the tariffs, US taxpayers would wind up paying $39 billion in total.
In comparison, that’s $9 billion larger than the entire 2018 budget for the Department of Justice, which includes the US federal court and prison system, the FBI, and Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Marshals Service. It’s three times the annual operating budget for the Social Security Administration, which distributes benefits to over 50 million Americans.
“Offering a bailout to any single industry is a slippery —and costly—slope,” the US Chamber’s chief policy officer Neil Bradley writes.