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GOP Plans to Knife Americans With Job-Killing Trade Agreement

GOP Plans to Knife Americans With Job-Killing Trade Agreement

By Wednesday, 13 April 2016 08:06 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Campaign 2016 is exposing what many have long suspected: two decades of so-called “Free Trade” agreements killed American jobs and gave workers little in return.

I support truly free and fair trade between nations. Deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are not about free trade. They are about privileging politically powerful global elites and dumping the costs on everyone else.

Those costs are now evident to all: lost jobs, porous borders, and lower living standards. They are one reason Donald Trump ranks so high in the polls.

Trump isn’t the only trade critic, though.

Hillary Clinton, who endorsed TPP while she was Secretary of State, now claims to oppose it. So do Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz.

Of the candidates still standing, only John Kasich backs TPP – and that’s partly why his campaign is going nowhere.

Obama already signed the agreement. That means TPP is now one Congressional vote away from being a done deal.

With the voters clearly against TPP passage, you might think Republican Party leaders would vote “No” and do it as loudly and as soon as possible.

You would be wrong.

You might also think that President Obama, who wants another Democrat to succeed him next year, might also back off TPP. You would be wrong there, too.

Obama and GOP leaders are pretending to be thorough and cautious while secretly preparing to stab voters in the back.

Their plan: get themselves re-elected in November, then vote to approve TPP in a lame-duck session before the new and probably anti-trade president takes office.

John Engler, the former Republican governor of Michigan who now heads the corporate-lobbying Business Roundtable, told the New York Times last week that political “hostility to trade” will subside after the election. Engler is “quite certain” TPP will pass once those pesky voters no longer have any say in it.

The hypocrisy practically boils over here.

Consider the GOP Senate’s reasons for not considering Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. “Let the American people decide,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others say.

According to them, a lifetime judicial appointment is so important that the new President and Senate must have a say in it.

But when it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership – which will live far longer than any Supreme Court justice – they want the opposite. They are working diligently to make sure the American people don’t get what they want.

An additional irony: McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who refuse to work with Obama on almost anything else, stand firmly beside him on TPP.

Yet more ironically, most House and Senate Democrats say they will oppose their own president and vote against TPP. On trade, at least, they are far better aligned with the national electorate than the GOP is.

Both foreign governments and corporate America desperately wants TPP to pass.

Companies are showering Capitol Hill with favors to make sure it does. If history is any guide, the establishment will get its way once again.

The good news is that history has been a pretty poor guide lately. Maybe fake free trade is past its expiration date.

Patrick Watson is an Austin-based financial writer. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickW

To read more of his insights, CLICK HERE NOW.

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Campaign 2016 is exposing what many have long suspected: two decades of so-called "Free Trade" agreements killed American jobs and gave workers little in return.
trade, job, GOP, republicans
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 08:06 AM
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