An American president has great power. He can veto passed legislation. He can issue Presidential orders. He can push legislators to act on measures he supports. His powers are myriad.
For some time now President Obama has been spending a great amount of time pushing the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. This trade agreement is far larger than any trade agreement in history. It involves 12 nations that represent 40% of the world’s economy. This trade agreement goes far beyond the parameters of simple trade agreements. It gives the many US corporations involved in these negotiations powers that their lobbyists never dreamed of.
If passed, this agreement (TPP for short) will allow corporations to escape governmental courts and substitute corporate controlled courts to decide extremely important matters. The TPP will give corporations many powers that should be controlled by the governments of the nations, rather than corporations, whose only goal is monetary enrichment.
Regulations for safety of people can be dodged because the regulations may affect the profits of corporations. This means that regulations that protect our air and water can be over ruled because they affect a corporation’s profits! This means that regulations that protect our planet from Climate Change can be overruled because they affect a corporation’s profits. This means that life threatening chemicals can be used by corporations because they affect corporations’ profits. Over and over again in the small print of the TPP, corporations’ profits are considered superior to the lives of people.
Pharmaceutical corporations will be granted stronger patents to protect their profits, which will result in the deaths of millions of people unable to afford the excessive profits protected by the TPP.
Regulations that protect people from unsafe products and unsafe food will be overruled because they affect the profits of ruthless corporations.
And, if all of that is not bad enough, the TPP gives corporations the same incentives to outsource our jobs that NAFTA gave to corporations. The NAFTA trade agreement and other much smaller trade agreements were promoted with promises of more jobs and lowering of our national trade deficits. Just the opposite has occurred. NAFTA was a small trade agreement with only 3 nations involved. NAFTA gave incentives to American corporations to outsource our jobs to poor countries around the world. This resulted in the losses of 5 million jobs of hard working American workers. It also began the deindustrialization of the US economy by also outsourcing over 60,000 factories.
Since the TPP has 12 nations involved, it is at least 4 times larger than NAFTA. Since the TPP has the same incentives to outsource our jobs, the losses of American jobs will result in the loss of more than 20 million jobs for our citizens. And the damage is not only to the American workers, but it will affect all members of his/her family. If the average American family totals 4, the number of severely injured will be over 80 million parents and children! With no jobs, or part time jobs, or very low paying jobs, these 80 million people will be facing poverty, the lost dreams of college for their children, poor or no health insurance, losses of homes, etc.
The US economy is based on consumer spending. If such a catastrophe looming over the passage of the TPP happens, our economy would be permanently damaged. What American CEOs have yet to learn, is that if every corporation outsources our workers, there will be no consumers left to buy their products or services. The rush to lower wages and outsource workers is the formula for failure.
President Obama has made speeches at corporations pooh poohing all of the hidden threats to our people from the TPP, and bragged about how he will get the TPP passed soon.
But Obama’s true betrayal of the American people is not about what he has said but what he has actually done. President Obama has kept all of the negotiations of the TPP in SECRECY! This is the presidential candidate of 2008 who promised the American people that he would get us transparency in governmental behavior, so corruption could be exposed. President Obama has had the power to make the negotiations of this huge trade agreement transparent from the first day. President Obama has had the power to stamp out the SECRECY of the TPP from day one. But, President Obama has chosen to keep the negotiations of the TPP, SECRET from Congress, SECRET from the Media, and SECRET from all of the public, except the 600 lobbyists of US corporations who are actively destroying the jobs of our people.
There is a solution to this pending disaster. We, the citizens, must publicize this grave threat to our families of what the TPP can do if it is passed. President Obama is trying to push Congress to manipulate it into passing a measure called “Fast Track”. If this is passed, Congress cannot make any changes in the TPP. Congress can only vote Yes or No. We, the people, have the power to vote out every member of the US House of Representatives every 2 years! We can educate everyone we know of the threats of TPP, and ask them to email and write and call their representatives and Senators and tell them loudly, “ If you vote to Fast Track and vote to pass TPP, you will be fast tracked out of office because we will all vote against anybody who will give away our jobs and give away the protections of our people and planet.
2016 is a very important election. Several polls have found that most Americans dislike our government and either do not vote, (the 2014 election had the lowest turnout since 1942 which was in the middle of World War II), or vote for the better of two lousy choices. The polls clearly indicate that we need a strong, new party that will represent the people.
In the 1980s Canadians voted out both of their major political parties. I believe the time has come to bring the voters a party to vote for. In many nations they have a Labour Party that has won a majority of seats in their parliaments. Australia’s Labour Party got their people a great Minimum Wage that automatically increases each year. It is now over $16 per hour!
The Democratic party used to represent us. Today, both Democrats and Republicans get their campaigns funded by rich corporations and rich individuals. Neither party represents the people. We need an American Labor party that represents the needs of the people.
The slogan that can win the 2016 election for an American Labor party is “Do you want a government of killing or a government of caring?”
More about creating an American Labor Party can be seen on my website www.BoldThoughts.org
Howard M. Greenebaum is a published author and a writer of columns with solutions. He lives in Portland, Oregon where he proudly votes by mail.