Dana Milbank’s April 27 column “Obama’s abominable trade deal” singled out the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to American jobs, workers and our growing inequality of wealth. Yet this treaty, often labeled “NAFTA on steroids,” goes far beyond trade and offshoring of jobs.
Through international tribunals, TPP empowers multinational corporations and investors to sue our government (i.e., the taxpayers) over laws and regulations affecting corporate profits, both real and anticipated. This court’s powers would supersede our health, labor, food, safety, environmental and other domestic laws.
TPP grants pharmaceutical companies monopolistic patent rights, limits Wall Street accountability, bans “buy local” programs, neutralizes gains in Internet protections and access, and undermines climate and energy initiatives.
TPP was negotiated in secret by big business with minimal labor, safety or environmental input. Congressional leaders have had little or no opportunity to study it. Only a few were permitted to read its guarded portions and then only behind closed doors.
The movement now to “fast track” its passage bypasses public and legislative scrutiny, cornerstones of transparency and representative government.
Decades ago, capitalism defeated communism. Now, if TPP is enacted, this corporate takeover will undermine our democracy and judicial sovereignty.
Curt A. Torell