Ag Policy Blog

GOP Candidates Touch on Ag, Farm Issues in Debate

By Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor

In the midst of the slings and arrows during Thursday night's GOP presidential debate in South Carolina, there were a few nods toward business concern for farmers among the candidates, largely by candidates challenging the stances of others on the stage.

In an argument about trade and Chinese currency manipulation, Donald Trump argued China would capitulate to the U.S. Jeb Bush responded that such actions would come back on U.S. businesses, including soybean farmers, as well as manufacturers such as Boeing.

"So the soybean sales from Iowa, entire soybean production goes -- the equivalent of it goes to China. Or how about Boeing right here within a mile?" Bush said. "Do you think that the Chinese, if they had a 45% imposed on all their imports wouldn't retaliate and start buying Airbus? Of course, they would. This would be devastating for the economy. We need someone with a steady hand being president of the United States."

Ted Cruz concurred with Bush on that point. "You know, I sat down with the senior leadership of John Deere. They discussed how -- how hard it is to sell tractors in China, because all the regulatory barriers. They're protectionist," Cruz said. He then added, "But Jeb is also right that, if we just impose a tariff, they'll put reciprocal tariffs, which will hurt Iowa farmers and South Carolina producers and 20% of the American jobs that depend on exports."

In the argument over whose tax plan is better for Americans, Cruz defended his flat-tax proposal by highlighting the other taxes that would disappear as a result.

"This is a business flat tax. It is imposed on business and a critical piece that Marco seems to be missing is that this 16 percent business flat tax enables us to eliminate the corporate income tax. It goes away. It enables us to eliminate the death tax," Cruz said. He added, "If you're a farmer, if you're a rancher, if you are small business owner, the death tax is gone. We eliminate the payroll tax, we eliminate the Obamacare taxes."

Marco Rubio later on challenged Cruz by claiming Cruz had changed his position on immigration reform, as well as flipping stances on cuts to crop insurance and ethanol policy..

"Ted Cruz, you used to say you supported doubling the number of green cards, now you say that you're against it. You used to support a 500% increase in the number of guest workers, now you say that you're against it. You used to support legalizing people that were here illegally, now you say you're against it. You used to say that you were in favor of birthright citizenship, now you say that you are against it," Rubio said. Rubio then added, "And by the way, it's not just on immigration, you used to support TPA, now you say you're against it. I saw you on the Senate floor flip your vote on crop insurance because they told you it would help you in Iowa, and last week, we all saw you flip your vote on ethanol in Iowa for the same reason."

The statements here came from a Washington Post transcript of the debate:…

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CRAIG MOORE 1/25/2016 | 1:09 PM CST
Yeah Jay, and everyone is still waiting for you to answer ANY questions anyone has given you. Jay says nothing but what his little voices tells him to.
Jay Mcginnis 1/23/2016 | 9:33 AM CST
Don Thompson is right, who can have a logical discussion? Sarah says it all!
Raymond Simpkins 1/21/2016 | 6:30 PM CST
Yea Craig, he kinda did. Everyone is afraid to face the real issues anyway. We can't hurt anybodies feelings you know! Thats Clintons campaign though.
CRAIG MOORE 1/21/2016 | 5:18 PM CST
Chris certainly took the fun out of the posts here, didn't he.
Don Thompson 1/19/2016 | 6:20 PM CST
Chris, Watching S. Palin endorse D. Trump on MSNBC. You want rational logical discussions of national issues?? Good Luck with that.
CHRIS CLAYTON 1/19/2016 | 11:53 AM CST
While it's good to know that people are engaged on these candidates, I'm somewhat dismayed by the level of discourse regarding the blog. I appreciate the views, and appreciate the lack of salty and offensive language as well. I would request a little less dart tossing between each other and the personal commentary regarding the candidates. There is an awful lot of that in this presidential election already. I want to highlight issues related to candidatesâ?™ views on topics important to farmers but I would like to keep the focus on those topics.
We all need to realize a little more these days that not everyone is on the right or the left.
To quote country singer Don Williams,

"I don't believe the price of gold
The certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong
That north and south can't get along ..."

Thanks again.
Raymond Simpkins 1/18/2016 | 2:48 PM CST
Another stupid comment Jay, no answer about healthcare. Dems. Are the ones pushing for all the new U.S. pipelines not renewable fuels so there goes your theory.
Gary Leghton 1/18/2016 | 1:32 PM CST
Jay, still waiting for you to answer the questions you haven't addressed yet. ( Crickets are chirping!)
Jay Mcginnis 1/18/2016 | 10:02 AM CST
I am not a dem or rep either Raymond but if you vote GOP you will need a new China to finance another war. Look at the mess GW left, how will you pay for another war in Iran? Haven't you learned from Vietnam and Iraq? Better keep the money in this country and buy a rail system and renewable energy projects so the mideast can keep their oil and we can combat climate change. And Gary, you like guns so much, why don't you start a volunteer militia to go get ISIS instead of a bird watching sanctuary?
Raymond Simpkins 1/17/2016 | 6:34 PM CST
Jay, why do you bother to write on any of these blogs?I have never read anything smart you have ever wrote. I am neither Republican or Democrat but if we vote in any democrat the U.S. is in trouble. Look at the mess we have now. No one will be able to afford health insurance in a few years if they don't do away with Obamacare. Dems. even want to do away with your little electric car.
Gary Leghton 1/17/2016 | 5:43 PM CST
First, I don't understand what religious rights the GOP is violating unless you consider terrorism a religion and second, you don't need background checks for weapons that criminals steal or buy off the street (doesnt work). The Second Amendment states it shall not be infringed. Sounds like you may need to brush up a little! Also, you didn't address all of my questions directed to you, maybe you could clear that up Jay.
Jay Mcginnis 1/17/2016 | 4:31 PM CST
Liberty is losing ground? Yeah maybe to corporations that claim to be people but what have you lost? Need a background check to buy your automatic weapondry, afraid you'd fail it? I surely don't feel less free, I don't feel oppression of tyrany but I do worry about religious freedoms that the GOP candidates want to obliterate! Better get your definitions straight and brush up on your constitutional law. But send in the clowns, let's see how the whole country votes!
Gary Leghton 1/17/2016 | 3:57 PM CST
How do you define "angry White male", Jay? Do you mean that America's Constitutional Rights are being violated? Every true American should be furious when our God given rights are tread upon, not just "angry White males". By "impressed", do you mean that some still desire a Constitution-abiding president? And again, that is not just the "angry White male". America is successful because we have a Constitution which guards our nation against a powerful centralized government. People immigrate here because they love freedom, that is who " wants the world they are pushing". The Democratic candidates refuse to acknowledge the authority of the Constitution, which in turn demolishes the base of freedom. Because neither the national nor the state governments are diligent in upholding the Constitution, Liberty is losing ground. Don't you want Liberty for all?
Jay Mcginnis 1/17/2016 | 7:47 AM CST
No problem Gary, run any of your top leading GOP candidates, just because the angry White male is impressed with them won't mean they will win, the majority will have common sense, who wants the world any of them are pushing? The confederacy lost in 1864, they will lose in 2016, their values are forever lost in history.
Gary Leghton 1/15/2016 | 8:52 PM CST
No, his Mom was a US citizen he is just as much American as a person born overseas who has one parent in the US military like John Mcain. Oh,you must be a progressive voting for big gov, big national debt, no freedoms, no guns, no free markets, no field operations without permission from EPA, gimme gimme gimme.......... you cant understand common sense Jay!
Jay Mcginnis 1/15/2016 | 8:25 PM CST
Cruz is a true outsider, born Canadian citizen! You should love working for the corporate monopolies in his anti-socialist oligarchy Gary!
Gary Leghton 1/15/2016 | 10:27 AM CST
You also need to add that Cruz defended his position on Rubios attack on changing positions as some weren't true. Cruz sees the big picture and is an outsider to Washington . Others are inside the box and will attack and say things to get votes. Cruz is working to obolish socialism and let free markets work!
Jay Mcginnis 1/15/2016 | 8:48 AM CST
Can anyone outside the circus take these clowns seriously?