How Government Programs Expand Beyond Intent

I noticed an article (based on this press release) in Sunday’s paper explaining that the US Department of Labor had approved Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits for workers who lost their jobs when Eclipse Aviation ceased operations back in 2008.

So, what’s the problem? First and foremost, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program is supposed to help those who lose their jobs as a result of free trade make the transition to other jobs. Few who followed Eclipse Aviation would place free trade among the culprits in causing Eclipse’s demise. The reality is, as the blog Eclipse Aviation Critic pointed out, the company could not ramp up production and profitability at a fast enough rate to avoid inevitable insolvency. This had absolutely nothing to do with the supposed “burden” of free trade.

The reality is that the Trade Adjustment Assistance program is unnecessary. Trade benefits us all through lower prices and better quality goods. And, of course, as Ronald Reagan once said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” Oh, and, government is very slow. While I’m sure there are still some Eclipse Aviation employees that were laid back in 2008 who are looking for jobs, if the government is going to “help” these people, wouldn’t that help have been more useful two years ago?

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