January 6, 2015

TPP: A pending disaster

Robert Reich -  Anyone believing the TPP is good for Americans take note: The foreign subsidiaries of U.S.-based corporations could just as easily challenge any U.S. government regulation they claim unfairly diminishes their profits – say, a regulation protecting American consumers from unsafe products or unhealthy foods, investors from fraudulent securities or predatory lending, workers from unsafe working conditions, taxpayers from another bailout of Wall Street, or the environment from toxic emissions.

The administration says the trade deal will boost U.S. exports in the fast-growing Pacific basin where the United States faces growing economic competition from China. The TPP is part of Obama’s strategy to contain China’s economic and strategic prowess.

Fine. But the deal will also allow American corporations to outsource even more jobs abroad.

In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.

At a time when corporate profits are at record highs and the real median wage is lower than it’s been in four decades, most Americans need protection – not from international trade but from the political power of large corporations and Wall Street.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is the wrong remedy to the wrong problem. Any way you look at it, it’s just plain wrong.

Michael T. Hertz, Popular Resistance - What is wrong with the TPP? It is NAFTA on steroids. Here’s how it works. As in NAFTA, there will be whole sections in the TPP that override important national law regarding labor, environment regulations, and the like. Under the U.S. Constitution, a treaty overrides both state and federal law. So the TPP will be the superior law. If a foreign company believes that the TPP is in conflict with an American law, it can bring a lawsuit. But the lawsuit isn’t brought in a court, but before a TPP arbitration panel – comprised of private lawyers, some of whom were probably responsible for drafting the TPP in the first place. And whatever the panel decides goes!

Under NAFTA, for example, Fedex actually sued the Canadian Post Office before a NAFTA arbitration tribunal, arguing that the Canadian government was undercutting Fedex’s business in favor of the post office. Fortunately, even the private lawyers on the tribunal rejected that claim, but if they hadn’t, Canada would have had to shell out millions of dollars to Fedex.

And here’s the kicker. If Fedex doesn’t like that the U.S. Post Office is doing, it can sue under NAFTA (as it will also be able to do under TPP) by having one of its “foreign subsidiaries” bring the lawsuit. In other words, an American company can sue its own government in a private court and collect U.S. Taxpayer money by asserting a treaty against rules that the company doesn’t like.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Slavery dominated by global cotton markets versus free labor subsistence agriculture, by 1862 this became a zero sum game. Is the US economically self-sufficient (Clay) or is it a labor market for global capital (Calhoun)? What the Confederacy did in creating a new country dedicated to cotton, the Democrats have replicated as corporate manifest destiny, a new pirate country outside US jurisdiction.