Curated below are my comments and replies from New York Times readers, followed by an excerpt of Paul Krugman’s May 22nd op-ed. Since the publication of this op-ed, the U.S. Senate has passed the legislation that enables the fast-track of the TPP in Congress. The legislation is now, quite ironically, in the hands of none other than Paul Ryan.
As I’ve commented in Paul Krugman’s op-ed on Monday, when Republicans are hot to trot to pass President Obama’s legislation, you had better watch out!
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, after several weeks of not talking to anyone in the media, finally took questions from reporters today and, while she addressed the TPP and expressed her skepticism, she, again, did not fully commit to being opposed to it. Remember, while it is true that she’s been out of the picture since leaving the State Department, she did take part in most of the negotiations of the TPP… It isn’t as if she has no clue which direction the deal leans in or who negotiated it.
Hillary Clinton Has ‘Real Concerns’ With Obama’s Trade Agenda
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Friday that although she has “real concerns” about the major trade pact President Barack Obama is currently negotiating, she will not take a formal position on the agreement until she has reviewed the final deal.
Since it is currently illegal for Clinton to see drafts of the agreement, her comments suggest she will not be weighing in on trade policy until well after Congress has decided whether to grant Obama powers to expedite its passage. Although Clinton helped craft parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership during her tenure as secretary of state, the
“I do have concerns,” Clinton told reporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “I have concerns that the standards will not be tough enough or enforceable. I have concerns about currency manipulation, which has been a big problem in the impact our companies and workers. I have concerns about the investor settlement dispute mechanism allowing them to challenge health and environmental and labor provisions.”
“I’ve been for trade agreements, against some, for others,” she added. “I want to judge this when I see exactly what is in it and whether or not I think it meets my standards.”
Read the rest of this article on HuffPo: Hillary Clinton Has ‘Real Concerns’ With Obama’s Trade Agenda
Thank you, Professor Krugman, for taking a stand. It is much appreciated.
The reason the TPP is such a priority on both sides of the aisle. The reason why Democratic Senators’ so-called rebellion was short-lived. The reason why anyone with half a brain should walk away from this is what ails both parties and our entire nation: money in politics.
The professor is right. This deal isn’t about “trade” it’s about the solidification of the near complete plutocracy in America.Any deal that Senators can’t bring their senior staffers in to read without a special clearance that is impossible to obtain. Any deal that Senators themselves can’t keep the scrap paper they write their notes on. Any deal that no Senator is allowed to publicly discuss. Anything that anyone would demand first be voted on in the affirmative, meaning passed, before it is revealed, should be denied, voted down, protested, failed on principle.But it wasn’t voted down. It was fast-tracked by Senators on both sides of the aisle who are surer than ever that they will hang on to their seats and reap the rewards of staying faithful to their moneyed overlords.Money in politics, its rot, is now in full view. We know who is beholden and who is not. The clown car on the right may be full and the primary season may be about to begin, but the only two relevant candidates are on the left. Only one can be trusted to insist on the undoing what is sure to pass. Only one candidate isn’t for sale: Bernie Sanders.
Watch your representatives in the U.S. Congress, in their own words, about what they are allowed and not allowed to see and do, when it comes to doing YOUR business in the context of a trade agreement that will affect your jobs, the prices you pay for certain things and the legal rights of corporations vis a vis the laws your Congress passed.
The TPP: what everyone should know
“The TPP has carried with it all kinds of unusual, right from the start. The makeup of the US negotiating team was 85% industry lobbyists and the rest administration officials. That, in and of itself, is not indicative of a mindset geared towards the common good. How is that possible you ask?
Following is a compilation of the best available information I have been able to collate:
“He who pays the piper calls the tune”
A friend of mine told me, about 4 years ago, less than 2% (or maybe it was 4%) of Americans donate more than $200 (or maybe it was $400) to political campaigns – and that 90% of the time the candidate with the most money wins.
That means, money wins elections, and the people that put up the money call the tune.
Never, or not in recent years, has the average American had a candidate such as Bernie Sanders, so concretely and unabashedly committed to the interest of the average American.
I am unfortunately very poor, especially in comparison to my past. However, I have made it a point to not be one of those 98% of Americans who give less than $200 to a candidate.
I have a candidate that is for me. His name is Bernie Sanders. If i don’t contribute now, then when? If I don’t contribute to someone who is in my corner, then I’m counting on luck for my future to come out better.
So I have committed to myself, to give to Sander’s campaign. I will purposely deny myself some consumption worth $10 a week. And each month, baring any unforeseen event, I will give Sander’s campaign $48. (His average is $47 – so I have the satisfaction of outbidding the average contribution – perhaps the only time in my life). And I hope to be able to carry on this way at least 10 months so that my net contributions will exceed that of the 2%.
I would hope that others give this some similar consideration.
Thank you Rima Rigas, for taking a much stronger, fact filled stand against TPP than Professor Krugman actually did. It’s appreciated. TGFC—thank god for comments.
- 17 Recommended
Jared Bernstein’s take on the TPP
Note: I have some issues with it, but like Professor Krugman, his is also a very honest assessment.
I’ve made no secret that I am not in favor of these trade agreements, their benefits, or the damage they’ve caused, especially since NAFTA. I also don’t agree that the toothpaste can’t go back in.
Were the American people decide to be a hella more circumspect about who they elect as representatives, some day in the future, some leader with the courage and moral fiber needed to clean up the corrupt mess we’re in could conceivable start from scratch.
After all, we’ve gone from being a nation of producers to being a nation of consumers and service industries. We’ve gone from a nation with a substantial middle class, to one where our children’s futures and our own are very limited, and poverty, utter poverty, is evident in all of our cities. How long can we possibly expect to go on like that?
Martin Luther King addressed this in very similar times. He saw the utter poverty and hopelessness and began to address it. Please take a few minutes to read.
I stand with you.
We nearly lost everything to the tech bubble of the early 2000’s. It took, literally, until 2007 for us to get back on our feet. Then came the Great Recession and life hasn’t been the same since.
I know this is true of millions more that no one speaks of anymore. Thankfully, I am still able to read and write. Los Angeles is seeing a resurgence of homelessness. It is now at 12%. There are almost 50K people, families, children, elderly, young and single, living on the streets.
Some of my neocon commenters here love to bring up the fact that I live in a city and county that are thought to be in the top income brackets. What a joke! Multi-generational and communal living are more the norm than not. I’ve blogged about it in a short story I wrote. There is homelessness here too. Times readers have shared, in response to comments over the last few years, how hard life has been for them and their children.
We need to get back to that. By my estimation, real unemployment, using the U6 figures in the BLS, is really at 11% and all the wonderful new jobs that were created are not “good” jobs.
There is only one party to blame for this.
Yeah, I’m voting for Bernie. I’m no masochist and I am NOT ready for Hillary.
Rima – There’s yet something else that makes the TPP a no-go, and that relates to the what Dr. K. mentions about ‘ dispute settlement ‘ and the fact that foreign corporations could sue the U.S. for regulations that caused their anticipated profits to not materialize, much as Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for its attempts to lower smoking habits:
Under the leaked TPP chapter Dr. K. mentions, as the U.S. tries to shift away from fossil fuels, foreign oil/gas/coal/carbon energy firms that saw declines in their U.S. sales could sue us to recover their ‘ missed ‘ revenue stream, with the magistrates hearing the cases being composed of a rotating group of attorneys whose clients are foreign corporations that are suing/have sued under TPP before – and the decision of the magistrates would be final, with no appeal in the U.S. or anywhere else.
Who could possibly think this is a good idea ?
The TPP is not a trade deal at all; it is a collection of odious corporate wish list items prepared by corporate lobbyists that couldn’t get their bought-and-paid-for Congress to propose such things in public in broad daylight in D.C., so the lobbyists are trying it in secret.
How is this Constitutional? I say Alan Grayson or some Representative should just drag out the documents and dare to be arrested for it!
Interesting that finally years after the Peace plowshares group was convicted for “threatening National Security” by a peace protest against the continued waste of billions per year for nuclear weapons still threatening all humanity that a judge ruled them innocent…
It is time to stand up against the plutocrats!
Why not max out our credit cards to provide donations to Bernie and declare bankruptcy if he loses? That way the 1% will at least pay for the campaign….
Glad to see you back Rima! I had missed your voice. I think you were writing less than before? I know as a mother you have your hands full. I hope your time gets more plentiful and you get hired as a paid writer for your causes i.e., if a full time writing job is what you want. You have talent, brains and great ability with the “pen.” Carry on!!
Bernie Sanders has my money and vote. Sherrod Brown is fighting the good fight as well while my sold-out, Senator Marie Cantwell, is pushing as hard as she can to pass TPP and hand over our democracy to multinationals. We need to call out the traitors and hit the streets. Our democracy is on the line !
Every area, that is, except one: international trade and investment.
I don’t know why the president has chosen to make the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership such a policy priority. Still, there is an argument to be made for such a deal, and some reasonable, well-intentioned people are supporting the initiative.
But other reasonable, well-intentioned people have serious questions about what’s going on. And I would have expected a good-faith effort to answer those questions. Unfortunately, that’s not at all what has been happening. Instead, the selling of the 12-nation Pacific Rim pact has the feel of a snow job. Officials have evaded the main concerns about the content of a potential deal; they’ve belittled and dismissed the critics; and they’ve made blithe assurances that turn out not to be true.
The administration’s main analytical defense of the trade deal came earlier this month, in a report from the Council of Economic Advisers. Strangely, however, the report didn’t actually analyze the Pacific trade pact. Instead, it was a paean to the virtues of free trade, which was irrelevant to the question at hand.
First of all, whatever you may say about the benefits of free trade, most of those benefits have already been realized. A series of past trade agreements, going back almost 70 years, has brought tariffs and other barriers to trade very low to the point where any effect they may have on U.S. trade is swamped by other factors, like changes in currency values.
In any case, the Pacific trade deal isn’t really about trade. Some already low tariffs would come down, but the main thrust of the proposed deal involves strengthening intellectual property rights — things like drug patents and movie copyrights — and changing the way companies and countries settle disputes. And it’s by no means clear that either of those changes is good for America.