The Obama White House and GOP congressional leaders are teaming up to “fast track” the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress. Obama is partnering with Republicans to pull another NAFTA on workers even as the Democratic base and progressives vigorously oppose fast track authority for the latest “free trade” deal.
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka says politicians and corporate bosses want you to think global trade, Trans Pacific Partnership, and fast-track authority are just too complicated for working people to understand. Turns out it’s pretty damned simple.
“I understand it,” Trumka says, “ Let me tell ya. Here’s what it means. It means lost jobs and lower wages. That’s it. Lost jobs and lower wages.”
Public Citizens Global Trade Watch agrees. They say in “one fell swoop” the TPP could:
◦ offshore American jobs and increase income inequality;
◦ jack up the cost of medicines;
◦ sneak in threats to Internet freedom, and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards;
◦ expose the U.S. to unsafe food and products;
◦ roll back Wall Street reforms;
◦ ban Buy American policies needed to create green jobs.
“The progressive movement could not be more united, more focused, more committed to holding our leaders accountable for the actions they take in Washington than we are right now in the fight against Fast Track authority for the TPP,” said Neil Sroka, communications director for Democracy for America, a million-member national progressive political organization. “The fact is, you can be a progressive committed to fighting for working families or you can be for this massive job-killing trade deal written by hundreds of corporate representatives, but you can’t be both. And, if you stand with the wrong side in this fight, the progressive base of the Democratic Party stands ready to hold you accountable at the ballot box.”
Democracy for America , a political action committee, was founded in 2004 by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch says a leak of some TPP language reveals new powers for foreign corporations that allow them to challenge U.S. policies and get taxpayer compensation if their profits are affected. WikiLeaks has also obtained documents that reveal “a parallel legal system for foreign corporations,” according to Global Trade Watch.
Business leader Leo Hindrey, former President of AT&T Broadband, is against TPP fast track. Hindrey says nearly five million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost since the NAFTA-like trade deals took effect. Hindrey says these trade deals have “fundamentally transformed the types of jobs and wages available for the 63 percent of all U.S. workers without a college degree.”
Obama’s South Korean trade deal increased the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea by fifty percent, Hindrey points out—the equivalent of 50,000 U.S. jobs lost. Some right wingers also oppose TPP and fast track. The American Jobs Alliance and the United States Business and Industry Council, both pro-business groups, have joined the Tea Party Nation and Eagle Forum in opposition.
Doug Cunningham is a journalist with Workers Independent News (WIN). He was a cofounder and investigative reporter for The Flint Voice and his work has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Wispolitics.com, Court TV, Stateline.org, AP, and UPI.
Image credit: Rick Reinhard