The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was actually mentioned for the first time this year in a political debate. The GOP's debate on Wednesday was more entertainment that actual debating. However, for one small glimpse, trade agreements were giving a spotlight. Why do trade agreements matter? Let me tell you why.
International trade agreements is was makes our business in the U.S. grow. It opens up their consumer market and can sell to consumers in the U.S. as well as other countries. Political leaders have attempted creating so called "free trade agreements" which are an attempt to drop tariffs and duties at the borders in order to encourage trade. However, since 1994, when the great North American Free Trade Agreement passed, we realized that these "free trade agreements" aren't free at all.
By starters, negotiating with a lower wage country thaåt has less labor and environmental regulations, creates a temptation for companies to move overseas and take advantage of that. That is exactly what happened with NAFTA. Dozens of auto manufacturers moved south. They had the opportunity to make their autos by paying people $4 an hour instead of $57 an hour. They didn't have to face all of the expensive labor and environmental regulations and can ship their cars made in Mexico back to the U.S..
Have you visited Detroit recently? It is basically a ghost town. Detroit was known as the Motor City. It was at one point the 4th largest city in the U.S. However, when NAFTA hit, Motor City went to Loner City. Now, Detroit is bankrupt. Is NAFTA fully to blame? Probably not, but it sure can be held accountable.
Similar outcomes came from NAFTA-style trade agreements there-after. It's as if we are the ones being cheated out of these "free trade" agreements. These countries should know that we are the biggest consumer nation in the world! If anything, they should be begging us for a free trade agreement, instead of us being fools and begging them for one!
We are begging? Yes. President Obama has been negotiating the TPP since 2005. He has been negotiating this deal in complete and utter secret. When news leaked online regarding this trade deal, he received a lot of push back from Americans who have been scarred by NAFTA-style agreements. Did he stop? No, he continued negotiating until October 4th, where his wish was granted and the TPP was wrapped up.
However, these past 10 years of negotiations, the public has been left completely in the dark. The only reason why a handful of groups and organizations even knew about the TPP was because of Wikileaks who would lead chapters of the TPP. Mainstream media failed to report on it and to this day fails to continue reporting on it.
Trade affects us. Trade affects you and me. The more awful "free trade agreements" that our leaders pass, the more our wages remain stagnant, the more cheap goods come in, the more our jobs are shipped overseas, the more our economy hurts. Trade matters. Trade needs to be a major issue during this presidential campaign.
Very few candidates on the GOP side have talked trade. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee have been the most noisy regarding the TPP. During Wednesday's debate, Trump made it clear that the TPP won't work unless it has strong language against currency manipulation. Huckabee also went off regarding the TPP after the debate stating that he "wouldn't trust Obama to negotiate the purchase of a couch of Craig's List."
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton just recently jumped on the bandwagon of not supporting the TPP. This comes after months of being dead silent regarding her position. She was a major advocate of the TPP while she was the Secretary of State, but she knows that in order to win over more democrats, she must not support the TPP.
People of America, I urge you to get informed regarding the TPP. Don't listen to the lies that our leaders are trying to shove down our throats. Look at the fine details behind every pro TPP argument. Trade is good. Trade is GREAT. However, this isn't true free trade. What is? I don't think anyone has that answer, but what I do know is that NAFTA-style agreements hurt us. So why do we continue passing them?
Joseph H. Defrees said that "if it's not in the interest of the public, it is not in the interest of business." Let's make trade our interest. Let's make the TPP our interest. Then maybe, our leaders will take interest and actually represent their constituents.