Do Not Lard Up the FTAs

Jun 20, 2011

The benefits of the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are clear, and Congress must resist the temptation to lard up these job-creating agreements with an ineffective and costly welfare program.

In today's political and economic climate, Congress should embrace policies that create viable jobs without government largess and deficit spending. The free trade agreements would do just that by opening new opportunities for American businesses, which have already missed out on tens of billions of dollars in exports.

Despite the widespread belief that the agreements would create jobs and make America more competitive in the global economy, the agreements remain stalled. However, Congress must resist the temptation to grease the skids for passage by funding the failed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. As the scholars at The Heritage Foundation discovered, the billion-dollar program is "ineffective in raising the wages of participants."

President Obama's decision to hold job-creation hostage is reprehensible. Congress should reject his cynical ploy and consider the FTAs and TAA separately, allowing each to stand on their own merits, or - in the case of TAA - lack thereof.