Montanans watch the craziness that’s happening in Washington and think that stuff doesn’t really affect us. Trump’s imposing tariffs on longtime trading partners Canada, Mexico, China and the EU seemed like one of those things.
Sen. Jon Tester’s recent op-ed piece about “beer, barley and tariffs” made the trade war hit home. In 1908, my grandparents homesteaded in north-central Montana and managed to eke out a modest living growing wheat and barley. The farm has remained in the family, providing much-needed income in times of stress. When my father died unexpectedly, my mother promised us three kids we could go to college with the help of the farm income. Today, a farmer in Carter leases the land. We worry about the low price for the crops, the bailouts/subsidies, how long the trade war will last, and the uncertainty about our ability to sell wheat to foreign markets in the future. Farmers want trade, not aid.
All of us, not just farmers, will soon feel the effects of these tariffs on beer, bread, honey, motorcycles, boats, anything made with steel or aluminum, and more. The presumed benefits of the Republican tax overhaul will likely be completely negated by higher prices and the loss of jobs.
Please vote in the 2018 elections for Sen. Tester, Kathleen Williams, and the other Democrats so we can put some checks and balances on the craziness. It may well be the most important election in our lifetime.
Jane Van Dyk