Congress Eyes Trade Deal Warily


The growing number of Americans who oppose free trade — trade freed from ethics and economic common sense — need to be especially cautious about the pending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) at this juncture.

Congress must be repeatedly urged in the clearest terms possible that the only acceptable TPP is no TPP—and that it’s not a matter of “improving” the pact, regardless of revelations about “this” or “that” objectionable chapter of that massive trade and investment treaty which is cast as a mere “partnership.” That’s so the Senate’s required advice and consent on treaties is avoided.

Encouragingly, some political candidates have backed off from supporting the TPP, although their sincerity can never be fully confirmed.

Reports that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — who helped prepare the TPP groundwork as Obama’s secretary of state — has “unexpectedly” turned “against the TPP” are the work of simpleton reporters. Hillary’s undeniable internationalist pedigree, which carries with it unbreakable support for the TPP and other trade pacts, simply cannot be refuted.

Moreover, apparent GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and pro-working-class Democratic contender Bernie Sanders have called the TPP a bad deal, though Sanders is more believable about trade.

“Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voted against giving President Obama authority to negotiate the [TPP], after voicing support for the legislation,” Breitbart News recently noted, even while President Obama, in an April press conference in Germany with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, acknowledged that people across the world view trade deals suspiciously.

But he also claimed that the people overlook trade-related benefits. On that basis, he argued that it was important for the US to open markets in foreign lands so that America’s businesses could be more competitive.

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s markets are outside of our borders, and if we’re not there ... we’re going to have problems,” he said — clearly ignorant of the fact that under a system where money is born as debt, consumers and businesses in each nation, who’ve already been harmed by the trade pacts currently in force, get most of their money by taking out new loans to pay off previous loans in an endless, merciless cycle, with “interest drain” depleting the money supply faster than it enters the economy.

Therefore, each nation’s consumer buying power cannot help but lag behind the totality of goods for sale. So, it follows that each nation must exploit foreign markets to make up for what their domestic economies lack in purchasing power. For some nations to have a trade surplus, others MUST run deficits. And while cash-starved, debt-laden countries scan the horizon nonstop to look for more export recipients, the core solution is monetary reform—not exports via free trade.

One other bit of good news is that TPP has come under fire in the TPP nations of New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Mexico and Canada, where several protests have been held.

The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), a public advocacy group, added, “To add more fuel to the fire, key Congresspersons ... stood up against the ‘status quo’ long before it was ‘cool’ to be against the TPP. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), who sits on a Ways and Means subcommittee, declared his position against the TPP.”

Moreover, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who’s a former US Trade Representative, says he opposes TPP. Ditto for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) and other Republicans — all of which is significant because Republicans tend to be stalwart supporters of these trade schemes.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden (D) is acting positively “republican” in his strident support of the TPP. He is, or will be, visiting all Democratic congressional offices to push for a yes vote on TPP. While many Democrats are reluctant to tell him “no,” maybe they should consult the voters. What a novelty.

“A recent poll showed that out of 10,000 registered voters, 34% of Republican voters oppose the TPP compared to 24% who support it. Seventy-five percent of Democratic voters are against it. And 30% of independents oppose it in comparison to 22% who support it,” CPA added.

Yet, amid all the TPP uproar, Obama’s European visit also included remarks in favor of the US-EU equivalent of the TPP — the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). During Obama’s stay, though, anti-TTIP protests erupted. We Americans need to follow suit and make our voices loudly heard to stymie and defeat both the TPP and TTIP. The timing could not be better.

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2016

Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2016 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652