Did you know that the Obama administration is negotiating a super secret “trade agreement” that is so sensitive that he isn’t even allowing members of Congress to see it? The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific” and “NAFTA on steroids”, but the truth is that it is so much more than just a trade agreement. This treaty has 29 chapters, but only 5 of them have to do with trade. Most Americans don’t realize this, but this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, health care, the trading of derivatives, copyright issues, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. It will also merge the United States far more deeply into the emerging one world economic system. Initially, twelve nations will be a party to this treaty including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Together, those nations represent approximately 40 percent of global GDP. It is hoped that additional nations such as the Philippines, Thailand and Colombia will join the treaty later on.
There are some very good reasons why Obama does not want the American people to know anything about what is in this treaty. This agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on the American people, it will ban all “Buy American” laws, it will give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it will force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.
It contains a whole host of things that Obama would be unable to get through Congress on his own. But he is hoping to spring this on Congress at the last minute and get them to agree to this “free trade agreement” before they realize all of the things that are contained in it.
The secrecy surrounding these treaty negotiations have really been unprecedented. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Kurt Nimmo…
“Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy,” Wikileaks notes in a statement on the release of the TPP draft. “Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.”
And Obama reportedly is seeking “trade promotion authority” which would give him the ability to sign this treaty before Congress even votes on it…
Normally free -trade agreements must be authorized by a majority of the House and Senate, usually in lengthy proceedings.
However, the White House is seeking what is known as “trade promotion authority” which would fast track approval of the TPP by requiring Congress to vote on the likely lengthy trade agreement within 90 days and without any amendments.
The authority also allows Obama to sign the agreement before Congress even has a chance to vote on it, with lawmakers getting only a quick post-facto vote.
This is so insidious that it is hard to find the words to describe it.
In essence, Obama is trying to make a giant end run around Congress on dozens of different issues that are addressed by this treaty.
Fortunately, there are at least some members of Congress that are waking up to this. Earlier this week, a small group of Republicans and a small group of Democrats both sent Obama a letter condemning this “free trade” agreement…
Separate groups of House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday condemned the Obama administration’s proposed sweeping free trade agreement with 11 Pacific nations, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Strongly worded letters to President Barack Obama Tuesday were signed by hardline tea partiers, true-blue progressives, and moderate, corporate-friendly lawmakers in both parties, indicating political trouble for a trade deal the administration had hoped to seal by year end.
This is one of the most important political issues facing our nation here at the end of 2013, and yet you hear next to nothing about this treaty on the mainstream news. If this treaty is approved, the United States will be permanently bound by the provisions of this treaty and will never be able to change them unless all of the other countries agree…
Countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP’s rules—in effect, a corporate coup d’état. The proposed pact would limit even how governments can spend their tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences that invest in the US economy would be banned, and “sweat-free,” human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts could be challenged. If the TPP comes to fruition, its retrograde rules could be altered only if all countries agreed, regardless of domestic election outcomes or changes in public opinion. And unlike much domestic legislation, the TPP would have no expiration date.
Are you starting to understand just how dangerous this treaty is?
Let me give you just one example of how this treaty could directly affect you.
Do you remember SOPA?
There was a huge public backlash when the very strict Internet copyright provisions of SOPA were revealed to the public, and the American people loudly expressed their displeasure to members of Congress.
But now the provisions of SOPA are back. Most of them have reportedly been very quietly inserted into this treaty. If this treaty is enacted, those provisions will become law and the American people will not be able to do a thing about it.
And according to an article in the New York Times, there are all sorts of other disturbing things that have been slipped into this treaty…
And yet another leak revealed that the deal would include even more expansive incentives to relocate domestic manufacturing offshore than were included in Nafta — a deal that drained millions of manufacturing jobs from the American economy.
The agreement would also be a boon for Wall Street and its campaign to water down regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. Among other things, it would practically forbid bans on risky financial products, including the toxic derivatives that helped cause the crisis in the first place.
Are you starting to grasp why the Obama administration is so determined to keep this treaty such a secret?
In addition, this “free trade” agreement will push the ongoing deindustrialization of America into overdrive. Every year, we buy hundreds of billions of dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us. Tens of thousands of American businesses have been lost as a result, and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas.
If you are not familiar with our “trade deficit”, you really should be. It is one of the issues at the very heart of our economic problems. Posted below is a short 3 minute video that briefly discusses the trade deficit and why it is so important…
Slowly merging our economy with the rest of the planet has been absolutely disastrous for America. Just consider the following statistics…
-Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.
-The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
-There are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.
-When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars. By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
-Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 milliondollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year. In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
-According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
-According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.
Once upon a time, our great manufacturing cities were the envy of the entire planet. In fact, at one time Detroit actually had the highest per capita income in the United States.
But now Detroit is a rotting, decaying, festering hellhole that is completely bankrupt. And there are dozens of other formerly great manufacturing cities that are heading down the exact same path.
These “free trade” agreements are neither “free” nor “fair” when you really examine them, and they are absolutely eviscerating the middle class.
Please urge your representatives in Congress to block the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If this treaty does get approved, it is going to make a lot of our problems a whole lot worse.
Michael T. Snyder is the Editor of The Economic Collapse Blog.