trade adjustment assistance
Free trade may or may not be good for America as a whole, but one thing's for sure - it hurts for some American workers whose jobs get shipped overseas.
The feds help out some of these workers by paying for job training and income insurance (for workers over 50 who find lower paying jobs, the feds will make up 50% of their paycut up to $10,000) when their factories close as a result of a free trade agreement.
The current trade adjustment assistance (TAA) law is running out (it just got extended to March) and Congress is likely to expand the law when it gets renewed. The House passed an updated bill, HR 3920, in November '07 and the Senate is working on its own. Some of the changes the House and Senate are considering include:
- Expanding "wage insurance" which was set up as a pilot program in 2002, by lowering the age minimum to 40 and increasing the cap to $12,000 a year,
- Opening up TAA to workers who lost their jobs to China and India, not just those whose jobs went as a result of a free trade agreement,
- Increasing tax deductions downsized workers can take to pay for health care premiums - the House bill would raise them from 65% to 85%,
- Giving tax incentives to invest in areas hardest hit by trade.