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President Obama Is the One Who Is Wrong About Fast Track and the TPP

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Reprinted from The Nation

From youtube.com/watch?v=GAuvbN1gyHM: Fast Track Trade Authority is bad for America and the world
Fast Track Trade Authority is bad for America and the world
(Image by YouTube)
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President Obama takes it personally when Americans disagree with his free-trade fundamentalism. He keeps griping about the activists who usually support his agenda but are passionately opposed to his request for "fast-track" authority to bypass congressional input and oversight on a sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

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The president has a practical problem: if most congressional Democrats align with the activists rather than the White House -- as now seems likely -- they can block Senate action and potentially (in alliance with Republicans) beat the measure in the House. And he knows it.

"There have been a bunch of critics about trade deals generally and the Trans-Pacific Partnership," he told the crowd that was assembled last week for his appearance at the corporate headquarters of Nike, a US-based firm that (with its contractors) now employs roughly 40 overseas workers for every one American. "[What's] interesting is typically they're my friends coming from my party."

Instead of listening to their objections, however, Obama has simply suggested that he's right and they're wrong.

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The problem is that he has "evidence" is unconvincing. Consider the case of Nike and that 40-1 ratio. Even if everything Obama promises about the benefits of free trade and the TPP were to come true -- an exceptionally unlikely prospect if the history of trade pacts is any guide -- the ratio of overseas workers to Americans employed by Nike and its contractors would shift to roughly 30-1. That best-case scenario, everyone admits, would take more than a decade to be achieved. And, though fewer admit it, much of the new employment would likely involve technical workers developing automated production schemes that reduce rather than increase living-wage employment in the US and abroad.

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