Nearly all the Republicans and the Obama administration are united on pushing through the most massive free trade agreement to date, called the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership).
The vast majority of members of Congress, in the House and Senate alike, don’t even know what’s being negotiated in the TPP except for a few insiders in both parties. Only the trade representatives and their invited guests, the representatives from global corporations, know what’s being discussed
The Obama administration is trying to get “fast track” authority. Fast track means Congress agrees with the president’s negotiating demands before an agreement is struck, voting yes or no, without any amendments. In other words, if “fast track” passes, whatever the President’s trade negotiators agree on will quickly become law of the land. Corporate America in particular likes “fast track.” It means whatever anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-environment deals are agreed to at the negotiating table cannot be challenged, amended or reversed by Congress when the vote comes up.
CORPORATE PROFITS AT THE EXPENSE OF WORKING FAMILIES
The Trans Pacific Partnership ( TPP ) would :
Send millions of American jobs overseas
Ban efforts to save jobs such as the “Buy America” campaign
Block green job creation and other needed economic development
Overrule local, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as any voter referendums
Strip away consumer, labor, and environmental protections
Increase the prices of prescription drugs
Lead to the privatization of Social Security and Medicare
Prevent the enactment of a desperately needed Medicare for All Single payer health care system
Threaten our food and water safety
Allow corporations to censor and restrict access to the internet
Fast Track trade authority is the way that the public and Congress got steamrollered by trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO that left millions of families slammed by job offshoring, floods of imported tainted meat, and rising medicine prices.
· As public and congressional opposition to the TPP is growing, corporations and their bought and paid for politicians know Fast Track is the only way to force the TPP into effect.
· The Obama administration is well-aware of the vast opposition to the TPP and fast-track trade authority so it is intentionally trying to deceive the public.
· The Obama administration even attempted to stop the Seattle City Council from opposing fast-track legislation and the TPP, but instead got a unanimous vote against them from a major port city that trades with Asia.
· The Obama administration has been caught attempting to mislead on an important fast-track or TPP issue. Indeed, dishonesty seems to have become a tactic. The U.S. Trade Representative has been making false claims that the TPP will create 650,000 jobs.
Because we now have the NAFTA ( North American Free Trade Agreement ) experience, passed into law by Bill Clinton in January 1994, many people understand how corporate free trade impacts their lives. Over 2-MILLION manufacturing jobs that paid decent wages and benefits were shipped overseas because of NAFTA. In addition, NAFTA resulted in a downward pressure on other manufacturing wages, resulting in 20 % decline in wages and benefits in real terms since 1994. The TPP is much bigger than NAFTA and we know what NAFTA has done – lost jobs, lower incomes, a bigger wealth divide, higher trade deficits, undermining the environment and increased migration. People now know trade agreements have created terrible consequences for their lives.
TPP Secret Exposed by Wikileaks
By David Johnson
Wikileaks recently emphasized in a press release:
“The TPP document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.”
It is bad enough to negotiate a law in secret and pass it through Congress with no hearings but then to keep the law secret until four years after it becomes law. Would anyone think that a country that passed laws with such secrecy was a democracy? A novel about a government like this would not be about a democracy – it would be about a dictatorship of corporations where the people are serfs to corporate power.
What does the text show? Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa writes “corporations could sue the U.S. or other countries included in the deal if they didn’t like their laws. Such challenges would be handled by an unaccountable international arbitration forum. And taxpayers would end up paying the tab if the private sector wins.”
“With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that would undermine our sovereignty, expose U.S. taxpayers to billions in new liability and privilege foreign firms operating here with special rights not available to U.S. firms under U.S. law,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
Food and Water Watch, which opposes fast track and the TPP because of its threat to food and water, summarized the leak saying it will prevent “commonsense public health, environmental and consumer safeguards” by providing “special rights for corporations at the expense of the public interest, letting foreign companies demand financial compensation”
Under the TPP only foreign corporations can sue governments (domestic corporations do not share in that power), while people have no recourse. If dangerous food is imported and people are poisoned, they cannot sue in the tribunal; if fracking or a burst pipeline destroys the water supply of a community, they cannot sue; if workers lose their jobs to low-paid foreign workers, the workers have no recourse; if websites are forced off the Internet because of violation of extremist copyright provisions, they cannot sue. On issue after issue, people will be harmed by the provisions of rigged corporate agreements but they will have no recourse, while corporations can sue thereby ensuring increased risks to all of us.
This allows corporations to sue governments in a tribunal that supersedes the US judicial system when a law passed in the public interest would undermine their profits. Corporations can sue for the profits they were expecting to make in rigged trade tribunals where corporate lawyers play the role of judges and there is no right to appeal or take the case to another court for review. Even the US Supreme Court cannot overrule the corporate judges.
Tell your Representative and Senators to oppose “Fast Track” authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis – 217-403-4690
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk – 217-492-5089
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin – 217-492-4062