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Prepping for Job Losses from the Free Trade Deals

October 12, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The AP has a helpful post up explaining the details of the bill to provide aid to workers who get their jobs shipped overseas that Congress thought would be wise to pass before approving these new free trade deals. They’re comparing it to an expansion of the measures that were enacted in 2009 as part of the stimulus bill and expired in February.

  • The bill provides up to 130 weeks of income support, compared with as many as 156 in the 2009 law.
  • It reduces the health coverage tax credit to 72.5 percent, from 80 percent in the 2009 law but up from 65 percent before 2009.
  • It provides $575 million to train workers over the next two years. The cost of the bill over three years, offset by spending cuts elsewhere, is put at $900 million.
  • Public sector workers who were eligible for TAA benefits under the 2009 law will no longer qualify. But others made eligible remain eligible. They include those who held service jobs; workers whose companies shifted production to China, India and other countries that are not free trade partners with the U.S.; and secondary workers such as suppliers whose jobs are affected when a plant closes.

Three new free trade deals, with Colombia (H.R. 3078), Panama (H.R. 3079), and South Korea (H.R. 3080), are going to be passed by the House tomorrow. Senate action will follow shortly. While the deals may create some new jobs, it’s very likely that they will cost more jobs than they will create. Good thing they’re passing this scaled-back displaced workers support bill now that they’re about to enact the largest U.S. free-trade expansion since NAFTA in 1994 (which, btw, eliminated about 900,000 in its first decade).

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  • jimeckland 10/12/2011 7:54pm

    Who wants aid for displaced workers???? We want jobs..stop The FTA’s !!!

    Trade Agreements are Agreements between nations and require a two thirds majority of The Senate to pass. The House has no “Biding” role here. However, when it comes to “screwing Americans” the Constitution will be set aside so we can benefit foreign nations and International Corporate Elite…. Sad…

  • valleri 10/12/2011 10:20pm

    The people are told these trade agreements are needed to “level the playing field.” While these countries hit American made goods with tariffs from 9%+, we gladly have accepted their products for years with tariffs of .5-1%.

    When you look at these trade agreements, it is clear that previous administrations have failed the American people. Fair trade deals would have applied equal tariffs to their goods as they have done to ours. That’s the only way to prevent the wealth of American from being depleted, which is why we find our economy in ruins today. Will these new agreements make things right? Of course not. By default, the number of American consumers these countries can sell to is 20+ times greater than number of consumers American companies can sell to.

    The number of American job losses is likely much lower then what will actually occur. When we talk of “uncertainty” in the market, American workers need more than 130 weeks of “certainty” in providing for their families.

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