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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/6/14

President Obama's Massive Conundrum: Fighting Against Inequality While Creating More

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Message Michael Payne


It's time President Obama clarifies the massive conflict that exists with his initiative dealing with the inequality of wealth and income in this country versus his strong support of the TPP, the Transpacific Partnership Agreement. Someone needs to tell him that he can't be fighting against inequality while, at the same time promoting a trade agreement that will create far more inequality.


Americans have become increasingly aware of the many highly questionable provisions of the TPP and how it will adversely impact this country and its workers; they are very suspicious of this president's real motives. One gets the feeling this campaign to rally the people against inequality by increasing the minimum wage is merely a smoke screen to divert attention from his primary objective; to fast track the TPP through Congress and make it the law of the land.


In fact, he is saying little about the provisions of the TPP and is keeping both the Congress and the American people in the dark about this secretive agreement that according to reports has involved the participation of over 600 corporate executives over the last several years but no one in Congress.


President Obama, in his State of the Union address, did speak about the plight of the American worker and he addressed both the need to increase the minimum wage and proceed with the approval of the TPP. Regarding the minimum wage he stated, "Tonight, let's declare that, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty -- and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour." Not exactly a rousing call for action on this issue.


Later on he made the case for the TPP when he said, "Now, even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats. It presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership."


These two initiatives are diametrically opposed, their goals, based on the views of many observers are incompatible. Haven't we been down this road before when, twenty years ago we had the Clinton/Gore administration beating the drums for the approval of NAFTA, that trade agreement initiated in 1994 between the U.S., Canada and Mexico? You know, the one that was supposed to benefit this country and its workers in so many ways but totally backfired. It was sold as a job creator but then turned into a job destroyer. Yes we most certainly have; it's déja vu all over again.


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