I love democracy. I really do. So often in a democracy though, for one side to get what it wants, it must get creative with how it tries to sell its proposals. Such is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, otherwise known as TPP. This trade deal isn’t just a wolf wrapped in sheep’s clothing; it’s a job-destroying, wage-deflating Tyrannosaurus Rex.
TPP is a free-trade treaty between Pacific nations including the U.S. Now the idea of free trade sounds like a great one — in theory. In truth though, free trade between countries only benefits a few people while devastating others. Free-trade forces every worker to compete with every other worker on the planet, and how can an American factory worker making a living wage compete with the worker in the developing nations making only a small fraction of that?
But the worst thing about the entire political process going on now is the sheer secrecy built in to the negotiations. We still haven’t been allowed to see what’s actually in the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Yeah! Really! The powers that be certainly appear to fear what the average American might think, so those who stand to gain the most from this trade deal are demanding that Congress pass Fast Track Authority, severely limiting public debate and disallowing any amendments to it.
For democracy to work we have to have full knowledge of the agreements we make. If Fast Track passes, this treaty will become law before Americans are even aware of what it says. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp voted for a version of this legislation recently that was defeated, but now face an even worse version.
They still have time to do the right thing and support North Dakota workers instead of global corporate interests.