Do you remember back in the1990s when the United States entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? And the subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)? These trade agreements have not worked out well for American workers. American jobs went to Mexico. American workers were laid off and communities devastated. American companies, just to increase their profits, built their production plants in Mexico and paid their workers pennies on the dollar for their labor.
Unfortunately, we have not learned our lesson even after two decades of failed trade agreements. Right now Congress is considering entering into another trade agreement with South Pacific countries named the Trans Pacific Partnership - otherwise known as TPP. However, this trade agreement is even more onerous than previous failed trade agreements.
*The TPP was constructed in secret by corporations. Congress and the public had no input. This is fundamentally undemocratic and undermines transparency in government.
*It is a trade deal that increases corporate power and CEO bonuses.
*Thousands of jobs outsourced to countries that do not respect human rights or workers' rights.
*It allows transnational corporations to sue countries if they believe they have been harmed (sometimes speculatively) in a trade agreement written by corporations and behind closed doors.
*Expands the deregulation of banks, hedge funds and insurance companies. Remember the Wall Street crash of 2008 due to deregulation? Regulations keep corporations honest and prevent them from harming us.
*Harms environmental regulations in countries that are part of the TPP.
The corporations are now done writing their secret trade agreement and Congress now has to vote up or down on the law. The Obama administration is seeking "fast track" authority from Congress in order to complete the negotiations. This means there will be no committee hearings, expert testimony or amendments. The Obama administration is taking this anti-democratic approach because they know if this treaty was debated, it would never become law. The American people will oppose this law which is why secrecy and fast track are being used.
TPP is secretive, written by corporations, and fundamentally undemocratic. Perhaps a more appropriate name would be SHAFTA. It hurts American Workers. It values profits over people, and corporations over communities. Enough is enough.