By Dave Lindorff
There were two times Republicans broke into fervent applause during this lame duck president's seventh State of the Union speech: the first was when he called for passage of "fast track" authority to negotiate and send to the Senate a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact -- basically a NAAFTA for the Pacific region; the second was when he noted that he "won't be running for president again."
The applause came because those were the two most significant things that the president said in what was otherwise a pathetic and dreary exercise in posing as a liberal progressive reformer now that there isn't a chance in hell that any of his supposedly pro-middle-class proposals for reform will become law.
The cheering for the TPP on the Republican side of the House Chamber came because Republicans, unabashedly the party of capitalism, are all about reducing tariffs, freeing corporations to move to the cheapest labor countries in search of bigger profits, and the hell with American jobs being lost. They are happy to give the president and his not-so-brazenly, and yet still equally pro-capitalist Democratic minority in Congress, their support in passing the wholly pro-corporate TPP.
Obama alluded in his talk to the reality that NAAFTA, CAAFTA and other treacherous trade deals "haven't always done as promised to protect jobs and the environment," but he promised to do better this time. If that's the case though, why would he want "fast track" authority, which means negotiating with other countries like China and Indonesia in secret, and then presenting Congress with a final treaty that must be voted on up or down with no amendments or changes? It's all a giant scam that will end up eroding US jobs further. The president claimed that "export-oriented" jobs pay more than other jobs, which might be correct, but he failed to note that trade deals cut two ways: they do promote exports, but they also by definition promote imports by reducing tariffs on imported goods and services, and those imports are job killers. Worse yet, trade deals enable US companies to pull up stakes and move manufacturing work abroad because they can then produce the goods cheaper and ship them back to the US market thanks to new lower tariffs on imports.
As for his line about no longer running for president, that is precisely what made such a joke about all his proposals for taxing the rich more, making community college free to all, and "doing more to make it easier for workers to form unions," etc. None of those proposals will ever become law because he and the Democratic Party, thanks to six years of selling out progressive voters who elected them when they had two, and later still at least one house of Congress in their control, has now lost control of both houses...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2644