Dear Pootus, I am taking a page from the good people at the EU who decided that the way to explain trade policy to you was to provide colorful cue cards. I will not burden you with graphs (and those tricky x and y axes), nor will I encumber you with charts, which you might have to interpret in light of some very common tricks producing “Gee Whiz Graphs” and other illusions. Let’s just keep this simple. If you understand the concept of titties, then you should be able to comprehend the idea of international commodity trading — like milk and milk products.
Step One: COW
Notes for your experts who can explain more if you feel the need. The milk comes from the COW, more specifically from the FEMALE. This happens BEFORE the milk is in the carton in your refrigerator, or the cheese (made from milk) is inside the fridge too!
Step Two: Female Cow
The titties portion of the female cow is where the milk comes from. It is called the udder. There are many cows, and therefore many udders. Many udders make lots of milk. Notes for your experts who can explain more if you feel the need. There are approximately 8.75 million milk cows in the United States. Female cows — the ones with the udders — produced about 17.2 billion pounds of milk in June 2018. This is the highest productivity rate since 2003. You might wish to take credit for all the milk being produced from all those udders — more than under any other President EVER! Not that your presidency has anything in the world to do with cow productivity, but since you delight in taking credit for everything else that happens — even if it doesn’t — on your watch, why not take credit for milk production?
Step Three: Milk Comes From Cows
There is a surplus of milk on the market. As of last May dairy farms were getting hammered by low prices for milk because there was too much of it on the market. Therefore, you might want to be very careful about crowing about those production numbers? Notes for your experts who can explain more if you feel the need. There were things dairy farmers wanted your administration to do. For example, they suggested putting a floor on milk prices at $20 per hundred pounds. They suggested stabilizing volatile markets. They suggested government purchases of milk for public food pantries. (That’s NOT panties for the udders, that’s pantries for people who need food assistance.) [USAT]
Step Four: Cheese and other products come from milk.
In order for the dairy farmers to stay in business someone needs to buy the milk produced by their cows. Some of the milk is purchased for domestic consumption. That means “here at home.” Some of the milk is purchased by our trading partners. Notice that one of our major trading partners for exported cheese is Mexico. In fact, US Export Data shows Mexico as the Numero Uno buyer for cheese exported from the United States.
Am I getting the message across to you yet? When all those titties (udders) produce all that milk, the milk must be sold for the dairy farmers to make a profit. Cheese is made from milk, and Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Middle East/North Africa, Australia, Central America, SE Asia, Canada, and China are our biggest buyers for cheese products.
Have you suggested setting a floor on milk prices? No? Or, stabilizing volatile markets (including the international ones)? No? Or creating new markets for American milk and cheese products? No? Or, supporting the USDA food assistance programs like public food pantries? No? So, what have you been doing? Oh, that’s right — slapping tariffs on our trading partners…
“In the past few months, Trump’s administration has proposed steel and aluminum tariffs, and increased tensions with trade allies in Europe, Asia, and North America. This week, reports of a White House proposal that would call on the United States to disregard World Trade Organization rules are making lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fret that the United States could be staring down a trade war — one that is likely to hit the agricultural industry the hardest. On Thursday, Mexico announced 15 to 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on dozens of US goods, mostly on agricultural products — including cheese.” [Vox 7.5.18] (emphasis added)
One more time: Milk comes from cows; cows have udders; too many udders are producing too much milk; too much milk is being stored as cheese (because it doesn’t spoil like fresh milk); there are not enough buyers for our cheese; and, therefore, the price of milk and cheese decline. When the prices decline below the break even point the dairy farmer is out of business. When the farmer is out of business he can no longer buy the Red Hats you had manufactured in China. NOW, are you getting the point?
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out a way to make this any simpler for you. I will now return to writing posts for the adults in the room. Thank you for your limited attention.