Saturday, February 01, 2014

Fast Track To Hell

(Cartoon by Kevin Siers/The Charlotte Observer, published 1/30/14 and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge.)

In a move which absolutely stunned me, Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, refused President Obama's request that the Senate "fast-track" authority of the Trans-Pacific trade deal negotiated by the administration.  Apparently the Democrats in the Senate are not all that thrilled with a trade agreement which once again emphasizes imports rather than exports and which, like NAFTA, will result in jobs in this country being lost.  And, as important, will push wages in this country down.

From an op-ed written by David Bonior for the 1/29/14 NY Times:

But Mr. Obama’s desire for fast-track authority on the T.P.P. and other agreements clashes with another priority in his speech: reducing income inequality.
This month is the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which significantly eliminated tariffs and other trade barriers across the continent and has been used as a model for the T.P.P. Anyone looking for evidence on what this new agreement will do to income inequality in America needs to consider Nafta’s 20-year record.
While many analysts focus on the number of jobs lost from Nafta and similar pacts — and some estimates say upward of a million — the most significant effect has been a fundamental change in the composition of jobs available to the 63 percent of American workers without a college degree.
At Nafta’s core — and proposed for the T.P.P. — are investor rights and privileges that eliminate many of the risks that make firms think twice about moving production to low-wage countries. 
Today, goods once made here are being produced in Mexico and exported here for sale. Indeed, SAmerican manufacturing exports to Mexico and Canada grew at less than half the rate after Nafta than in the years before it.
As a result, our trade deficit has ballooned.

So, does this mean that the Senate will also refuse to ratify the treaty?  It's hard to tell.  After all, the only people who will benefit from the treaty, the 1%, make it a point to contribute a whole lot of money to senators, and that 1% generally gets what it wants.  I would remind you, however, that it is an election year and some of those congress critters are up for re-election.  Corporations can't vote, at least not yet, I urge you to call both of your senators, remind them of that fact,  and insist they vote against ratification.

It couldn't hurt and, if enough of us call, email, or write, it just might make the difference we need.

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Blogger Tralfaz said...

The Teabaggers are useful in this regard. They'll only support treaties like this if there's an R president.

9:03 AM  
Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Hear! Hear!

P.S. Tralfaz has a point (even though G.W. Bush began TPP, just as G.H.W. Bush began NAFTA before Clinton got it passed. And what have we learned? The lesser evil is still pretty fucking evil.

9:05 AM  

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