Reprinted from The Nation
Hillary Clinton has backed NAFTA-style "free-trade" agreements and she has opposed NAFTA-style "free-trade" agreements. Like other prominent Democrats, she has been inconsistent in her support of what is best for workers, the environment and human rights.
But Clinton has a chance to get trade policy right when it matters.
And when it matters is now.
As she launches a 2016 presidential campaign in which she seems to be interested in grabbing the banner of economic populism -- going so far as to complain in her announcement video about how "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top" -- Clinton can and should stake out a clear position in opposition to granting President Obama Trade Promotion Authority to negotiate a sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Despite overwhelming opposition from labor, farm, environmental and social justice groups, Congress is preparing to consider whether to provide Obama with the "Fast Track" authority he seeks to construct a "free-trade" linking the North American and Asian nations of the Pacific Rim. Imagine the North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids and you get a sense of what is at stake.
It is remarkable that the House and Senate would even consider surrendering their authority to make amendment, to provide oversight and to check and balance the executive branch on so vital an economic and social issue. Yet, the legislation has now been introduced and the White House and corporate interests are gearing up a massive campaign on behalf of Fast Track. If it succeeds, the TPP will be negotiated behind closed doors and with inadequate oversight from Congress.
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