Trans-Pacific Partnership: Forced on Americans by Lobbyists

KStreet2

If the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is successfully negotiated, passed and implemented, every American will be affected in some way. Similar agreements have put scores of Americans out of work while forcing others to live in constant fear of layoffs. With so much at stake, you would think the American people should be informed about trade negotiations. This has not been the case with the TPP. The negotiations for this agreement have been going on behind closed doors, shutting out the American people. One group, however, has not been shut out: lobbyists.

The logical conclusion is that corporations and lobbyists have been driving the TPP from the beginning. The majority of Americans feel that free trade agreements have been bad for the country overall. With no public desire for such an agreement, the push must be coming from those corporate interests that directly benefit from agreements like the TPP. While the American people have been shut out of the negotiating process, over 600 lobbyists have been let in as “corporate trade advisors.” These are the individuals that will shape this new agreement, saying no to aspects that hurt their bottom line while pushing for those that maximize their profits.

Profit maximization for American companies may sound good at first, but those profits rarely translate into a better economic situation for average Americans. Global companies based in America rarely feel any allegiance to American workers. They routinely offshore their profits to avoid paying their fair share in taxes, and studies have shown when they do bring that money back it is rarely used to create jobs.

These lobbyists are not only shaping the agreement itself, but they are also starting to round up support for it. Lobbyists from Phillip Morris, PhRMA, Wal-Mart and Chevron recently held a $1500-per-plate dinner where corporate representatives mingled with trade negotiators, lawmakers and state governors, hawking the benefits of the TPP.  All the while the American people are left in the dark about the contents of the agreement.

One thing is certain. If the TPP is passed it will mean more job loss for the United States. Whenever the U.S. opens its borders to low-wage countries, companies close  American factories and head elsewhere. This may be good for corporations, and lobbyists may make a good living pushing for it, but it is bad for the United States. The American people should have a say in their future; it shouldn’t be dictated by “corporate trade advisors”.

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