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On behalf of over a million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to vote NO on extending Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) at the current, higher post-stimulus levels. It should be noted that our objection is not to the Andean Trade Preference Act itself, the trade deal to which Democrats are trying to tie to expanding TAA. Free trade is a core part of free markets, which we support. Rather, the February 12, 2011 expiration of several expansions of TAA provides an opportunity to prune some excessive government spending.
TAA is a group of spending programs administered by several different federal agencies. Many of these programs, like so many others, was dramatically expanded by the $787 billion Obama Stimulus bill that has so dramatically failed to meet its stated objective of keeping unemployment below eight percent. In fact, some TAA programs are now spending twice as much as they were before the “stimulus” bill expanded them.
Supporters of TAA say its government-funded employment and job training programs are necessary. The facts make it clear they are not. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report showing that in fiscal year 2009 nine federal agencies spent approximately $18 billion to administer 47 separate employment and job training programs, all but three of which are duplicative. With a $14 trillion national debt, any reasonable observer should be able to agree that decreasing the funding for one of these duplicative programs is just a modest step in the right direction.
Beyond being duplicative, study after study has shown that, even by government standards, this government program has failed. Our preference would be to end TAA. At a minimum, Congress should take this opportunity to reduce it by letting the expiring “stimulus” expansions expire while expanding the ability of free people to buy and sell goods and services—trade—freely with others. This would get these bloated programs back to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels. This would also be a very small step toward a more dynamic, growing economy—the ultimate protection for displaced workers.
We will count your vote on TAA as it currently stands as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2011. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO
[Click here for a pdf version of this letter.]