Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Trans-Pacific Partnership — If It Passes, We Are Fucked

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog introduces a video of Bill Moyers interviewing Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism and Dean Baker of CEPR and Beat the Press (all three individuals are in my blogroll) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). What is TPP? About all anyone can offer is "known unknowns" about it:

  • It's "NAFTA on steroids" ... 12 nations (see the map at the link above; China is explicitly excluded),
  • Its provisions are being negotiated entirely in secret,
  • When the treaty is presented, it will be fast-tracked through Congress on an up-or-down vote,
  • Its provisions, like those of NAFTA, will override the laws of individual member nations including the laws of individual states of the United States on subjects such as the environment, labor laws, regulations on financial instruments, patent laws, etc.,
  • For US citizens and workers, prices (e.g., prescription drug prices) will go up, wages in virtually every industry touched by the agreement will go down, patent periods will be greatly extended, and virtually all benefits of the agreement will probably go to the top 1%.

All this is "as best anyone knows," because the negotiators ain't talkin', at least not for public consumption, and apparently no one of our viewpoint has any inside information, not even, as you might expect, members of Congress whose committee posts are relevant to trade, etc.

So this thing will be sprung upon us, fully formed, voted up-or-down... and everyone in every nation in the agreement will have his or her life affected, very probably for the worse. No matter what your politics (how you voted) or your job (if you have one), the President and Congress appear to have no interest in what you think. Have a nice day!

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