Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Trans Pacific Partnership and National Security


The NY Times has published an editorial describing how rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was self-destructive and will allow China to take over the world and destroy America. <insert link here>

They may very well be right. But whoever wrote this is in the dark about some fundamental issues that seem to have escaped them. So allow me to help my brilliant, elite editorial writer learn about some basic reality in American in 2016.

First, although we hear how Globalization and NeoLiberalism has been good for the world economy and especially the American economy, most of us have not seen it. We have seen the rich get richer, the middle class get destroyed by taxes, reduced wages, reduced pensions and the destruction of jobs but we have not seen how this new economy helps us. We have seen the government lie about unemployment and do absolutely nothing about helping the middle and working classes except perhaps to suggest that we could learn to type and become a secretary, or maybe work at Jack in the Box for minimum wage.

And furthermore, this has been going on for 30 years. But no response from Washington, no acknowledgement of the problem. No attempts to fix it that are not laughable. But we do see bankers and fund managers destroy the economy, not get prosecuted and given their multi-million bonuses nevertheless. We see Wells Fargo commit fraud for a decade, fire 5,000 little people, but no one goes to jail and the CEO retires with 100 million dollars after some insider trading which of course is not investigated. We see middle class people get assets seized by the police without being accused of a crime and the DOJ say that it is OK.

Now before you read any further, you should reread the above two paragraphs. You should reread them again. You should keep rereading them until you understand them. Until you understand that they are true. Then when or if you finally get it through your head that we have a corrupt and unacceptable economy for millions of Americans, then we can move on. The point is that your trade deals and Globalization is not a favorite concept among millions and millions of Americans. Ok, got that?

Second, the TPP was negotiated in secret and sprung on the American people about a year ago. When it was released to the public with the statement that we must ratify this treaty at once, and no discussion permitted, people demurred. Since a ratified treaty becomes law, it makes sense that there be some discussion of what is essentially a proposed law(s). We cant have that, the Government says, we must ratify this at once!

But what we discovered when we looked at the TPP was some very egregious and unlikeable provisions. Well, unlikeable unless you are a large, corrupt corporation of course. In fact, there is a lot to dislike about this “partnership”, when it was finally presented to the American people.

Third, you now tell us that the TPP had nothing to do with trade. In fact, it had to do with national security as manifested by trade blocks that will form a bulwark against China and Russia (if anyone cared about Russia as an economic power, which they do not, apparently).

Well, that is interesting and it may even be true. But your efforts to slide that past the American people without discussing your real motives or the slightest effort to protect the American people against the egregious and manifest crimes of international corporations doomed this effort.

As you say, it has nothing to do with trade. It may or may not have something to do with national security. But it certainly has a lot to do with the trust that the American people have in their government, and that is where you lost.

But there is a way forward. All you have to do is be honest with the American people about what your real motives are, fix the problems with the treaty to protect the American people and their laws, and convince them that your trade policies actually help Americans instead of just stridently assert that they do against all the evidence of people's experience of the last 30 years.

If you do that, I have no doubt that a treaty can be ratified.

Good luck.

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