Trade Wars With Silver Linings
By: Tom Chatham
The current trade war that is ramping up with China has many pitfalls but could have positive sides for Americans. The world cannot survive without American agricultural products, especially food. They may be able to replace most of it from somewhere else but not all.
The estimated loss of agricultural shipments to China is estimated at around 15-20 billion. This is small potatoes for a government spending 1.5 trillion a year on many questionable items. The U.S. government could do something to relieve the stress on American farmers and actually do something positive for Americans in the process.
The government could simply buy all of the excess farm products that would normally be shipped overseas and create a strategic food reserve for Americans. Anyone who has been keeping up with the food production over the years knows that we keep very little food stored for national emergencies anymore. We should have a food reserve similar to the oil reserve, just in case.
One of the positives for this type of investment is that unlike investing in wars or social projects we would actually be investing in something we could use or sell at a later time making the investment minimal in the grand scheme of things. Purchasing and storing these food reserves near large cities around the country would provide a strategic resource that could save many lives if the distribution system is ever disrupted for any reason such as fuel disruptions, cyber attacks or a grid down situation.
If we are going to spend billions of dollars a year for pet projects why not spend some of it on systems actually worth something to us. The world is not getting any safer and we need to have resources set aside for emergencies.
Removing these resources from the world market would have immediate and profound results. It would send a signal to the world that we do indeed have more than one arrow in our quiver and even in the face of massive deficits we are still relevant in the world.
The world cannot continue adding millions of people a year and expect to feed them all without the U.S. The U.S. has many natural resources and some of the best farmland in the world. We can survive the problems we face as a nation but the world cannot go on without our contributions.
We can get along without the electronic gadgets and trinkets we get from China but they cannot get along without our food. We need to use our resources in a smarter and more sustainable way to continue being relevant in the world. Simply printing our way to prosperity will no longer work. We need to provide real value in the world and our food supply is a valuable commodity. Our farmers are a strategic asset and a necessary one for our country to survive. We need to support them now so they can continue to support us in the future. If a trade war is the only way to solve our trade deficit then let them keep their trinkets and we will keep our food and we will see who is better off.