Standing Ovation as Trump Touts End of Death Tax: ‘Keep Your Farms in the Family’

President Donald Trump acknowledges applause after signing an executive order at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Attendees of the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, rose to their feet with boisterous praise on Monday when President Donald Trump heralded the end of the death tax in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

During his speech at the convention, Trump pointed out that not one Democrat voted for the Republican congressional leadership’s tax cut plan.

The president focused on the effect on farmers of reduction of regulatory burdens and change in the estate tax under the new tax law:

All American businesses, including American farmers, will be able to deduct 100% of the cost of new equipment in the year you make the investment. That is something that I think is going to be the sleeper of the bill, you deduct it all in one year as opposed to over many years, that’s a tremendous thing.

And from now on, most family farms and small business owners will be spared, and you’re gonna be spared and it really is the word punishment, of the deeply unfair estate tax known as the death tax — so you can keep your farms in the family.

The estate tax comments were met with huge applause and a standing ovation from the crowd. Trump even stepped back from the podium for a moment as the crowd rose.

“Obviously you love your families or you wouldn’t be standing for that one,” Trump went on.

Some versions of the tax cut and reform bill eliminated the estate tax completely, but the final bill did not. The final version doubled the estate “death” tax threshold of exemption to $11 million dollars but did not eliminate it.

He spoke of how farms will do well, but that the value of the farm can outweigh the level of income, forcing families to sell their farms at a “fire-sale price.” He said they “go out and borrow too much money and they end up losing the farm.” Trump said that’s not going to happen anymore. He remarked that it was a tough provision of the tax bill to get approved.

Trump took a moment to call again for respecting the American flag and national anthem, “We are fighting for our farmers, and we’re fighting for our country, and for our GREAT AMERICAN FLAG. We are fighting for that flag. We want our flag respected. We want our flag respected. And we want our national anthem respected also.”

The crowd cheered and whistled and began chanting, “USA, USA, USA.”

“As we put money back in the pockets of all Americans — including our farmers and ranchers, we are also putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life,” said President Trump. “For years, many of you have endured burdensome fines, inspections, paperwork, and relentless intrusion from an army of regulators at the EPA, the FDA, and countless other federal agencies.”

In a lighthearted moment, Trump told the crowd, “Oh are you happy that you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege. The other choice wasn’t going to work out too well for the farmers — r the miners or anybody else.”

“Because we know that our farmers are the future,” he continued. “We are removing harmful restrictions on forestry so you can log more timber, plant more trees, and export more renewable resources to other countries. Make money doing it.”

The president said he was working hard on renegotiating NAFTA to make it fairer for farmers and ranchers.

Trump added that he supports a farm bill that includes crop insurance.

He referred to a new report from a task force that heard from farmers on broadband access and its importance to farming communities. He said he would sign a bill that expands broadband access to rural America.

“Farm country is God’s country,” Trump said to a standing ovation as he closed out his remarks to the farming convention crowd.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.

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