Republicans rushed a bill through the Senate for “fast tracking” the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It would allow TPP itself to be rushed through. Then the bill went to the House and the fun started.
TPP would be a permanent international treaty involving 40 percent of the global economy. That’s serious stuff. But it’s mostly not about trade. And only members of Congress may read it, in a sealed room, without making copies or taking notes, for “security.” Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, has read it, but can’t talk about it!
Obvious Question: Why’s it so hush-hush, rush-rush? Simple answer: TPP’s a redistribution of wealth, UPWARDS, from the hoi polloi to the aristocracy.
President Obama’s been taken in by the corporate aristocracy. He says if “we” don’t “write the rules” for Pacific trade, “China will.” That’s laughable. China could hardly write worse “rules.” Corporate lobbyists are writing a power grab to put corporations above governments. Economics professor Robert Reich’s short video explains this travesty: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O_Sbbeqfdw.
WikiLeaks (https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/press.html) says the “rules” allow corporations to sue governments for loss of “expected future profits” for doing things they don’t like. Under similar “rules,” Australia was sued by Big Tobacco for trying to stop children smoking. TPP would let polluters and global warming culprits sue for “lost” profits.
This would be a serious loss of American sovereignty. These claims would be heard by secret panels of corporate lawyers, whose “judgments” would transfer money from taxpayers to multinational corporations. Unpatriotic, you say?
How quaint. Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, said, “Businesses don’t consider themselves ‘American’ any more. Their goal is to produce in China, sell in America and run the income through the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes.” Under TPP, they’d be encouraged to send more jobs abroad, including to Malaysia, which has slavery. China could join TPP (“Docking”) at any time. And even without joining, it could pay child labor 56 cents/hour in Vietnamese factories and dump exports here.
President Clinton had the courage to say he now regrets allowing previous trade deals. All came with promises they’d boost exports. All did the exact opposite. Here’s the acid test, from the Federal Reserve at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/BOPBCA.
It’s the current account, America’s global cash flow statement, showing dollars out (gray, below the line) and dollars in (black, miniscule, above) from 1960 to 2014. Past “trade deals” promised us lots of black. Instead, we got lots of gray. We’ve run huge deficits since 1991. The greatest was $216 billion (2006, fourth quarter; gray). These deficits come mainly from imports. TPP would give us more imports, killing more American jobs, but the top 1 percent couldn’t care less. Cheap imports are hugely profitable.
As a “double-whammy,” Mr. Grayson says one-seventh of America’s assets have become foreign-owned. Red ink on the income statement reduces assets on the balance sheet (Accounting 101). Translation: We’re selling the furniture to pay the bills.
We need a trade deficit policy, not an asset-stripping, job-destroying policy to enrich the 1 percent. Former economist Grayson says these free trade deals are “fake trade deals,” at http://tradetreachery.com/. According to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, these “deals” have closed 60,000 factories, killing 6 million industrial jobs and 10 million others. That’s why the Heartland is now the Wasteland.
So how did the fun go in the House? Confusingly, the Senate bill was divided into two parts, trade promotion authority (fast track) and trade adjustment assistance, to assist workers displaced by “fake trade” (there’ll be lots). The latter was defeated on June 12, as a maneuver by Democrats to kill fast track, leaving Republicans to salvage the wreckage. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, kept up the good fight. We’ll remember that.