To the Editor:
Thank you for printing Jackie Spinner’s in-depth article about the unintended consequences of tariffs on Canadian uncharted groundwood paper. Spinner, who writes for the Washington Post, goes into detail about how the attempt to help the lumber industry hurt small businesses across the country, namely the newspaper industry.
One of the reasons it often takes governments longer than we’d like to make decisions is the “Failure Mode Analysis” part of the process. Considering the impacts large and small can take quite some time. No one agency can possibly determine the whole impact of a change. In deliberate times, federal policy changes are printed in the Federal Register with a public comment period. Although laborious, agencies respond to each concern and determine a path forward.
Planning should be the longest part of the process. It may feel good to act fast and get something done. However, undoing, correcting mistakes, and re-doing often takes longer than considering all of all the consequences before acting.
Spinner’s article provides food for thought, not just about tariffs, but how actions have consequences. Some we intend, and some that surprise us.
Adela Crandell Durkee