Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The stakeholders of the TPP are 600 corporations

There is a lot of news about trade agreements these days. But one thing you won't see in the mainstream news is the work of former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton Administration, Robert Reich. He did an interesting thing. Instead of using a computer to hack his way to get a copy of the Trans Pacific Partnership, he made a phone call (and a video about the TPP):

“I’d like to see the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal,” I told the person I reached in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “it’s classified.”
“But representatives from some 600 private corporations have access to it by way of a secured Internet portal,” I said. “I’d like the password to the secured portal, please.”
“That’s not possible,” she said.
“But I’m a former cabinet official. I had security clearance. Why can representatives from 600 private corporations have access to this text and not me?”
“I’m very sorry,” she said.
“Look, Congress will be voting shortly on whether to fast-track this deal without amendment or discussion. Several members of Congress have called me to get my advice before they vote. All I’m asking for is the same access to it that people who work for 600 corporations are getting.”
“I can't help you,” she said.
"WikiLeaks has already published three leaked chapters and is selling the entire thing for $100,000. Wouldn't it be cheaper and simpler just to give it to me?" She laughed and said goodbye.
600 corporations have access? Where are the Non-governmental organizations? Where are the people? Aren't we stakeholders?

If you ask Bernie Sanders, a United States senator, probably not.
Bernie is the only presidential candidate to openly call out the class war that is currently being prosecuted by the 1% and the richest corporations in the world against virtually everyone else. He seems to understand that the TPP like many other "free trade" agreements is really all about self-dealing, nothing more. It is truly astonishing that some 600 corporations have access and influence to the agreement where ordinary people do not.

The most interesting aspect to this entire charade is that no one is talking about the one thing we could do to wipe out the trade deficit. Balance the dollar against other currencies, and Blamo! 6-7 million jobs could be created here. Oh, wait. There is someone talking about doing that, but he's not a part of the negotiations and the mainstream press hasn't noticed him, or worse, is trying to ignore him.

That would be an economist named Dean Baker. He's consistently called for weakening the dollar to match other currencies to eliminate the trade deficit. He also predicted the collapse of the housing bubble long before it came down. But all that doesn't matter to the negotiators. Better to lard up the agreement with a legal framework that allows corporations to sue nations that are party to the deal. Or to pump up copyright and patent protection for corporations that own them.

Then they can call it a free trade deal when they're done.
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