The 12 Nation TransPacific Partnership
By Jim Carey
After seven years of secret meetings with 600 corporate lobbyists, the Obama administration released the 12 Nation TransPacific Partnership (TPP). No elected senator or congressional rep was involved. It comes as no surprise that our corporate-owned media failed to expose the dangers that the TPP poses for environmental and labor regulations, intellectual property rights, regulatory standards, pharmaceuticals, and the limits on the excesses of the Wall Street bankers. Most economists admit that few of the chapters have anything to do with the classic ideas of free trade lowering tariffs and quotas.
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Critics have charged that the beneficiaries would tend to be among the already well-off; while proponents admit that it will not benefit everyone equally or simultaneously. James Surowieki of The New Yorker states, “The benefits to American consumers will be small. Instead, the real impact of this deal is going to be in the regulatory changes it imposes, and in the way it creates a more corporate-friendly environment.” Rumor has it that Obama may submit TPP to the Congress in February. Since Congress approved fast track or Trade Promotion Authority in June, the House has 60 days from the bill’s introduction to hold a yes or no vote on it and the Senate gets another 30 days, so 90 days in total, to approve or reject it. It rests on whether the administration believes that it has the votes to pass. As this goes to print, corporate capitalism and lobbyists are pressuring Congress for a quick “Yes” vote on the TPP.
The questions that many US and Canadian citizens have are numerous and deserved to be answered by our legislators before they approve this NAFTA on steroids.
How many of our jobs and industries will be offshored? Will the TPP roll back Wall Street reforms? Are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), both of which would have caused damage to the free flow of information, and both of which were defeated in Congress in January 2012, now incorporated into the TPP? Will TPP make it easier to challenge national environmental laws as well as financial regulations on the Wall Street cabal? Are the TPP tribunals a bold corporate attack on the sovereign rights of nations? Many admit that the US auto industry and other conventional manufacturers will suffer. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will flee east to Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Agribusiness, film studios, software engineers, financial advisors, and pharmaceutical firms will thrive. The working and middle classes will shrink. Inequality will become a cornerstone of our democracy. It’s sadly clear to many of us that both main political parties and the media seem to represent a minority of the people who have a majority of the money. The question remains: Will Americans be silent as legislators debate whether or not to allow this Trojan Horse to unloads its gifts to the one percent and the multi national corporations that feed their treasuries? Join the discussion Monday. Our events are free.