Making Washington squeal was a major theme used by Joni Ernst in campaigning for the Senate in 2014. She has continued to claim that she is holding Washington accountable by declaring a monthly, “Joni’s Squeal Award.” She has used that squeal award to highlight numerous trivial spending issues and attack various Democratic proposals. Where is her squealing fury over Trump’s destructive tariffs?
If Ernst is serious about bringing to light Washington policies that damage Iowans, why is she failing to call out the unbearable tariff pain inflicted on Iowa farmers, businesses, consumers and communities? The massive costs imposed on Iowans by the Trump tariffs is seriously damaging Iowa’s economy.
Her squeal award is simply an empty campaign slogan unless she calls out Trump for wrecking Iowa’s economy with these punishing tariffs. Why can’t she summon the courage to stand up to Trump?
At her recent Roast and Ride event this past weekend, she noted that she’s disagreed with Trump over tariffs, saying that she’s not a “tariff gal” while he’s a “tariff guy.” But she downplayed Iowans’ frustrations with tariffs, explaining that the farmers she spoke with were happy that Trump was taking on China.
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) June 15, 2019
On Ernst’s Senate webpage she states, “I am constantly researching and identifying areas of waste, abuse and inefficiencies…I will be giving out my Squeal Award each month, which recognizes a Washington expense, program or concept that has proven to be wasteful and must be cut…we can work to hold Washington accountable.”
Can you imagine that she hasn’t received an avalanche of responses demanding she present Trump with the tariff squeal award?
In the past several months, she has used her squeal award to rail against such trivial issues as the government’s cost to produce pennies, Department of Defense cost of coffee cups, government agencies curious spending on food and fabricating wild accusations about the cost of the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is simply a general concept for a future transition to a green economy. Ernst’s ridiculous and unfounded finger-pointing at Democrats exposes her squeal award as pure political bombast rather than a serious criticism of Washington.
Farm income has dropped 45% since 2013, the year before Ernst was elected, and the tariffs have significantly eroded farm income. According to the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service, 2018 net farm income was 13% lower than 2017, and that’s including the $12 billion handout to farmers. Between floods, tariffs and low prices, farmers’ 2019 prospects look pretty dim.
It’s estimated that Trump’s tariffs are costing consumers $831 per year. Trump is falsely claiming that China is paying the cost for the tariffs, but economists dismiss his claim. Also, Trump falsely claims China is paying for the $16 billion he has promised to farmers in 2019. Economists point out that tariffs are simply a tax on consumers. Apparently, Ernst is content to tax Iowans to subsidize Iowa farmers for the Trump inflicted tariff.
Companies across the nation are warning that their prices have or will increase from tariffs. At this weeks hearings in Washington, American firms are warning that Trump’s promised increased tariffs on China will further raise their costs and reduce their profits.
Why is Ernst refusing to issue the squeal award for Trump’s tariffs? As tariffs are jeopardizing Iowans’ economic future, she ignores the greatest disruptor of the Iowa economy. Ernst has said she disagrees with tariffs, but defended them again this week by saying some farmers tell her they support them. She recently refused to say whether she would vote against Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico over immigration.
Ernst can’t have it both ways. Either hold Trump accountable over tariffs or end the bogus squeal award and stop the phony political posturing about her concern for Iowa farmers, consumers and companies.
by Rick Smith
Photo by Julie Fleming