Dean Baker brought up an important issue today, New for Washington Post: Politicians Don’t Always Tell the Truth and TPP Is Not a Free-Trade Agreement. Primarily, he’s talking about the likely reason that Obama is pushing the TPP and TTIP, “President Obama is trying to get more business support for the Democratic Party.” But I’m more focused on just how awful these deals are.
As Baker has noted many times in the past, these are not “free trade” agreements. The two agreements involve nations in Asia (TPP) and Europe (TTIP) with which we already have pretty much free trade. What these agreements would do is make it very easy for business to contest local, state, and federal laws in newly created tribunals. Here is the key that ought to cause a shiver down the spine of all sentient beings, “Their rulings could not be over-turned by domestic courts.”
You know all the right-wing loonies who are always worried about the one world government or the imposition of sharia law? Well, that’s all nonsense. But this here is a very real threat. As I discuss a great deal on this blog, what we have to fear is the business community. Conservatives are constantly worried that it is the government that is oppressing them. But that isn’t the case at all. Our biggest threats come from private corporations with the government backing them up.
And that’s what we see with the TPP and TTIP. This is a very clear attack on national sovereignty. And this is why people like Obama want a quick vote on this — fast track authority. Because they know that a careful analysis of it will kill it. This is just another way for the business community to gain more power over us. I can’t say exactly how it would all work. No one can because these treaties have never been made public. But it is quite likely that what they would eventually mean is that local minimum wage laws were illegal. And local environmental laws were illegal. And local zoning laws were illegal.
I’m I going too far? I doubt it. Things that seem beyond the pale in one step are often totally acceptable in two steps — much less a hundred. Let me give you an example. In the 19th century, the idea of drug laws was preposterous and clearly unconstitutional. But by the beginning of the 20th century, the idea of taxing drugs and then using the power to effectively make drugs illegal was acceptable. And before long, the government just made laws that never would have been allowed a century earlier.
So going home to the house located a few meters from a new fracking operation after losing your only shot at justice in the TPP tribunals shouldn’t sound too far fetched. Because if we don’t work against it, it will become reality. This is an area where we really do have allies on the right. Of course, after Fox News starts pushing it, I can’t say. The black helicopter crowd isn’t hard to manipulate. As long as a Democrat is pushing the TPP and the TTIP, they will doubtless be against this move. But once President Cruz is pushing it, all bets are off.