by Judy Burch

600 multinational corporations drafted the TPP, giving themselves whatever they wanted. It’s their power grab to bury democracy. It affects policy on many levels and covers issues unrelated to trade including fracking, food safety, healthcare, local sovereignty and the environment.  It’s crucial Congress maintain its authority to oversee trade policy.  That means a thumbs down on this deal!

TPP would elevate corporations to the level of nations, allowing companies to sue governments in private trade tribunals over laws that corporations allege reduce their profits or their ìexpectationsî. (The  Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement clause creates a tribunal of 3 judges that can consist of corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their corporate job.)

Measures they can challenge include: natural resource protection, such as timber regulations, and permitting rules for mines; environmental bans and phase outs such as toxic chemicals and fracking; wages, labor and consumer rights. Public health systems are threatened because they can claim that gives unfair advantage to State-owned systems over private enterprise; public banking violates that same provision!

We’ve already seen this in action. Extension of patent terms. Importing food that doesn’t meet our safety standards. Lonepine Resources, a US company suing Quebec due to its moratorium on fracking. Our own Glass-Steagall Act had to be repealed to conform to the WTO (in the wee hours of the night.
As proven by NAFTA, the jobs are overseas, while factories and call centers close here, forcing down wages while inequality skyrockets. It hollows out our industrial base and adds to our substantial trade deficit. Cities have been devastated by the huge drop in revenue, affecting funding for city services and schools. Between 1998-2012 the % of manufacturing workforce loss was 43% in Detroit, 40% in Cleveland, 29% in Birmingham, just to name a few. Our trade deficit with countries we partnered with has risen 5x higher than before trade deals went into effect.

If TPP becomes law, it will undermine national sovereignty and hopes for progressive policies that put the peopleís needs before corporate profits. Fast track prevents amendments and limits our say. Alan Grayson just commented that each person in congress gets 88 seconds to enumerate their proís and conís.  Itís anti-democratic. Call your Congress-member immediately to oppose the fast-track deal by the leadership, and if that has passed by the time you read this, urge a NO! vote on the TPP itself.