Trump punishes government economists for finding his tax scam hurt farmers

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Economists at the Department of Agriculture say they're being retaliated against for their fact-based findings that Trump policies hurt rural Americans.

Career economists at the United States Department of Agriculture have made numerous peer-reviewed studies that found Trump's tax and farm subsidy policies are hurting the very rural voters that Trump promised to help.

Some of the findings include a report that shows farm income has been cut in half since 2013, as well as two separate reports that show both the Republican tax law and Trump's farm subsidy programs mostly benefits the richest farmers.

And those economists, working within the Economic Research Service (ERS), told Politico that they are now being retaliated against for their findings. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is trying to eliminate jobs by relocating career staffers from Washington, D.C., to a new location in farm country, and he's also forcing economists to water down their reports by adding unnecessary disclaimers to them.

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"The administration didn't appreciate some of our findings, so this is retaliation to harm the agency and send a message," one current ERS employee, who was granted anonymity to avoid retaliation, told Politico.

The punishments have led a number of career economists to quit en masse, including six in one day in April, according to Politico. Politico reported that the number of career economists who have left the agency in fiscal year 2019 more than doubled compared to the last three-year average.

Ultimately, Trump's policies — from tax law to tariffs — have been devastating to farmers and rural voters. One report from February showed farmers are going bankrupt at a record rate under Trump.

Yet rather than change their policies, experts told Politico that the Trump administration is merely trying to suppress factual information. Trump also laid out plans in his budget to limit ERS' purview, including stopping their work on food stamps and issues affecting the environment.

"Of course, this is not the story the farm lobby wants to tell about struggling farmers," Susan Offutt, former administrator of the ERS, told Politico. "Controlling ERS would stop unflattering news about federal farm subsidies favoring high-income, high-wealth farm households from reaching the public."

The Trump presidency is looking more and more like George Orwell's "1984" each day.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.