Previewing the Iowa Caucus

Good afternoon – 

As we head into the Iowa Caucus, tariffs are an important issue that deserve significant attention as they directly impact many Iowans and Americans all across the country.

Since the trade war began, according to data from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, Iowa taxpayers have paid $238 million in additional tariffs. At the same time, Iowa businesses, farmers, manufacturers, and consumers have faced $492 million in retaliatory tariffs, making the state’s exports less competitive.

This issue cannot be ignored, as Iowa ranks number one in producing corn, soybeans, hogs, eggs and ethanol. Yet, the majority of the Democratic candidates running for President – and asking for the votes of Iowans – are ignoring the damage the trade war is causing and refusing to comment on it or commit to ending the trade war if elected. 

It is vital that candidates recognize the importance of this issue, as trade supports 432,600 jobs across Iowa. New data shows the trade war with China could cost the state 23,500 jobs.

And to make matters worse, tariffs are contributing to the rise in farmer bankruptcies. John Newton, the Chief Economist at the Farm Bureau, summarized the farmer’s situation in Forbes as,

“The deteriorating financial conditions for farmers and ranchers are a direct result of several years of low farm income, a low return on farm assets, mounting debt, more natural disasters and the second year of retaliatory tariffs on many U.S. agricultural products.”

Under the Phase One deal, unfortunately, none of the retaliatory tariffs have been removed, only continuing to further harm Iowa farmers. In fact, the vast majority of the tariffs (94 percent) that have been enacted since the trade war began remain in place.

Additionally, due to the uncertainty of the trade war, farmers in Iowa have taken tremendous hits both financially and mentally. As reported in the Iowa State Daily, Associate Professor of Economics at Iowa State Chad Hart said,

“Let’s face it, when you’re worried about making that next rent payment or getting enough money to cover tuition next semester, that’s very stressful.”

Furthermore, the trade war is not just affecting farmers – manufacturers are suffering as well. For five months in a row now, the United States manufacturing industry has contracted and experts agree that the trade war and tariffs are a primary driver for this continued weakening. This is troubling because manufactures account for over 14 percent of the workforce in Iowa.

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the trade war and how it is hurting Iowans ahead of the caucus, please contact