That’s a headline it could take a few minutes to unpack: How on earth would American farmer bailout money end up in the hands of Brazilian criminals? Don’t we have, like, some way to make sure things like that don’t happen?
The problem is, the only way to understand it is to understand that it wasn’t a mistake.
After Trump went tariff-crazy last year, hitting Mexico, Canada, and the EU with steel and aluminum tariffs, then slapping China with $50 billion in tariffs on various imports, China hit back on American soybeans — and sent American farms scrambling, as well as agriculture futures on the stock exchanges.
That led to bailouts for farmers, all of which were avoidable, had Trump not mistakenly thought tariffs were an effective “punishment” for countries he thought were treating America unfairly. But in the midst of the shuffle of farmers vying for a little of that cash — because hey, who wouldn’t? — it turns out that a great big pile of it went to a company called JBS USA, a subsidiary of JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacking company.
That company is owned by a pair of brothers in Brazil who have both confessed to corruption charges and even spent time in jail in what’s become the most corrupt country in South America, especially after the election of Trump’s southernmost BFF, Jair Bolsonaro.
In January the administration formed a contract with JBS to purchase some $20 million-plus worth of pork products from their USA-based plants — and after some digging by the New York Daily News, previously undisclosed purchase reports show two MORE big bailout-type buys from JBS, totaling over $60 million.
The kicker is, JBS wasn’t eligible for farm bailout funds. Just like he plans to do for border wall funding, Trump simply took money that was appropriated for American farmers and moved it to a different purpose.
With all of the talk about “patriot farmers,” Trump is neck deep in lies about where this bailout money — not money recovered through tariffs on China, but regular old taxpayer money — is both coming from and going to. Why is the US Department of Agriculture bailing out a Brazilian-owned company that by all accounts didn’t even need our help?
Featured image is a screen capture.