Many Americans oppose NAFTA and other trade deals, but they haven't even heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison describes the TPP as the “largest corporate power grab you've never heard of.” Despite 19 rounds of negotiations that started all the way back in 2005, many of the details of the TPP still remain secret, even to members of Congress.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a massive trade agreement among 12 nations, including the US. And it's being negotiated by government trade officials and corporate lobbyists. Representative Alan Grayson said that the TPP is “a punch in the face to the middle class of America,” and added, “but I'm not even allowed to tell you why.” The deal would give multinational corporations the right to challenge our laws and regulations if firms believe those laws limit their “expected future profits.”
Not only would this trade agreement threaten American jobs, but it could seriously harm our national sovereignty. Regulations that protect workers, set environmental standards, or limit risk for consumers could be challenged if corporate greed isn't allowed to reign supreme. Despite all of these dangerous possibilities, Americans are being kept in the dark about the TPP, and trade negotiators don't even want Congress weighing in. They're demanding so-called “fast track” authority, which would block any changes to the law, and only allow our elected leaders an “up or down” vote.
Unions, consumer protection groups, environmental activists, and even members of Congress are calling for changes to the law, or a flat-out rejection of the entire deal. For the sake of our nation, these groups are working to inform more Americans, and fighting to stop the TPP while we still have a chance.
The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.