EconomyopinionPolitics

Why did Congress fight over the Trade “Fast Track?”

Recently, Congress has been hassling over a pile of trade agreement bills. TAA TPA, TPP…they are all related, but few understand the bottom line of what is really going on. While you  were all distracted by the horrendous massacre in Charleston, the TPP has gained one more step toward reality as the Senate moved the Trade Promotion Authority forward today (TPA).

fast track

So let’s review:

TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance)- a loss not taken lightly

TAA failed the first time in the House because Democrats wanted more assurances for American Workers- their stand was backed by labor Unions. That stance even caused Nancy Pelosi to buck the White House. (shock). TAA was promoted by Republicans and favored by Obama.

Anyone see a problem with that?

TAA will be voted on again after the Senate passes the Fast Track bill (TPA).

TPA- (Trade Pomotion Authority) Fast Track to more power

TPA finally passed in the House, thanks to some fancy footwork by John Boehner. He rigidly punished one Representative who stood against his agenda by removing him from the position: Mark Meadows, a Conservative who had been the Chair of an important House Sub-Committee.

The TPA passed a key Senate vote today, and moves to the floor, where it is likely to pass. TPA is also promoted by Republicans and favored by Obama. 13 Democrats voted for the TPA in today’s vote to move it to the floor.

So what’s all the falderal about? Don’t we need more jobs? More markets for our products?  Ah, this is where the rub comes in- the whole thing about “Fast Track” (TPA) gives the President more power to push forward trade agreements, and bans Congress from changing them when he does. Yes, they can still say “yes” or “no” but they will not be able to amend any trade agreement he comes up with.

It is a precursor for Obama to push forward the TPP- the Transpacific Partnership.

The TPP basically signs away American sovereignty to foreign powers. Its purpose is NOT for American workers, and without some major overhauling may open our country up to multi-million dollar foreign corporations and be a huge job-killer. Its purpose is NOT for American laws.  Let’s look at the history of a previous “free trade agreement” – NAFTA.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was not helpful. According to the Economic Policy Institute, it accomplished several things, none of which were good for the nation:

1) It caused the loss of around 700.000 jobs because the companies actually moved to Mexico.The “vast majority of workers who lost jobs under NAFTA suffered a permanent loss of income.”

2) Many employers began telling their employees if they didn’t lower their wages, the company would move to Mexico. “In the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with unions, some companies would even start loading machinery into trucks that they said were bound for Mexico. The same threats were used to fight union organizing efforts.”

3) The destructive effect of NAFTA on the Mexican agricultural and small business sectors dislocated several million Mexican workers and their families, and was a major cause in the dramatic increase in undocumented workers flowing into the U.S. labor market. This put further downward pressure on U.S. wages, especially in the already lower paying market for less skilled labor.

4) NAFTA promoted the Socialist agenda- costs went to labor and profits went to capital. In other words, only the elite got any money, and the laborers got little in return.

NAFTA did not actually expand trade- it expanded a socialist agenda.

TPP- Free Trade is not free.

The Transpacific Partnership is a “free trade agreement” among the United States, Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In order to achieve compliance with some of the provisions of this free trade deal, the US and all countries will have to comply with some international rules in the name of “cohesion.” The agriculture industry will have to comply with certain regulatory practices. Laws on intellectual property will have to be changed (intellectual property applies to things like pharmaceutical patent rights, etc.) Dairy regulations will have to be “expanded to participate in the growing global markets.”

What will these TPP regulations cost US employers? Will American workers benefit or lose from this agreement? What will compliance with international norms do to American laws? How will it affect the price of drugs?

Many of the provisions of the TPP are still secret. So I guess we’ll have to “pass it to see what’s in it.” But judging from the agreements of the past, this one could be even more restrictive and cost more jobs.

Why do Republicans want this? Because they smell power and money. Democrats are just doing their usual flip flopping in response to lobbyists and the President. They don’t really see the problem either. Why does Obama want this? Because it not only will bring power and money to him, but it will further his socialist agenda. So when you hear about all the “jobs,” be aware that with any plan to give the President more power there is always a catch.

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee

I'm a published author of 4 books, numerous short stories, blogs and editorials. I've been working at Uncle Sam's since 2013. I have two degrees in Criminal Justice and worked for over 31 years at a local police department. I have been a patriotic American since I was a child.

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