Monday, February 23, 2015

Financial crisis looming; federal government deceives

Commentary by Dave Felice

The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership is an impending disaster for the American economy.

With TPP, tens of thousands of American jobs will be sent overseas, even in greater numbers than previous failed so-called trade agreements. There are promises of benefits, but history shows none of these claims ever come true. The $500 billion trade deficit continues to grow daily.

The TPP has nothing that will benefit the average hard-work American. In fact, food, water quality standards, and environmental protections will be severely weakened. We will lose lower cost generic pharmaceuticals, Internet freedoms, and ability to have some control over our economic destiny.

The TPP isn't even really about trade. Only five of the 29 chapters just touch on traditional trade matters.

The TPP expands the power and control of multi-national corporations, elevating them to nation status with a process called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Under semi-secret ISDS tribunals, big corporations can sue local governments for potential loss of "expected future profits." This is already happening in Canada, Australia, and Uruguay.

Furthermore, it is unconscionable and reprehensible for Congress to even think about a Fast Track process to expedite the trade pact. Under Fast Track, members of Congress would surrender their constitutional authority and push through this massive agreement with no debate and no possibility of amendment.

If Congress bows to pressure to accept Fast Track, also euphemistically known as Trade Promotion Authority, members could just dissolve the body because the sovereign executive branch would be driving legislation.

The "lamestream media" are complicit in this subterfuge. A new analysis shows TPP was not mentioned once in the evening newscasts on the three major networks in the last year. Many newspapers, including the Denver Post, are negligent in reporting on the deal. Editors accept what U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman spoon feeds them, while the rest of the news is either ignored or, more likely, suppressed.

The only promise of the TPP that is likely to be reality is that the American "middle class" will be destroyed. President Barack Obama is practicing a cruel deception. On one hand, he suggests helping the disappearing "middle class" while at the same time pressing for TPP approval. It does no good for a working American to have a tax reduction or other benefits if she or he does not have a job! And those who manage to stay employed would lose more to inequality increases than gained in cheaper goods.

Colorado's economy is on the precipice, and the state's congressional delegation must commit to saying no to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Foreign trade is part of the foundation of the United States. President George Washington warned of the entanglements of foreign trade. After 239 years, it's about time the U.S. got it right. Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are totally wrong!

This commentary is adapted from remarks Felice presented at a Fast Track opposition rally last week at the Boulder office of Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO 02).


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