Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), President Obama's point man in the Senate
George Stephanopoulos articulated what was obvious. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell appears to be President Obama's point man in the Senate on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the TPP. What is wrong with that picture? Should Progressive activists worry? You betcha.
George Stephanopoulos asked Mitch McConnell if the trade promotion authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership was going to pass.
"We will pass it later this week," McConnell said. "The President has done an excellent job on this." He also stated that he encouraged his members to support it. After all, the authority is not only for President Obama but for the next President to negotiate other trade agreements with other countries around the world. It is a six year deal.
Mitch McConnell went on to misinform about the impact of the trade bill. He claimed it would create more jobs. This week I wrote the piece "The TPP will pass unless progressives make compelling case that touches lives of Americans" that is worth reading. I interviewed Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, about the agreement. She went into detail about why the TPP and all similar agreements are bad for the American worker. One of the most important statements she made follows.
“An agreement like the TPP both as a matter of economic theory and as a matter of the history of what similar past agreements have done, will lower U.S. wages, full stop. Will increase income inequality, full stop. And by the way when you have trade liberalization between a wealthier country and a less developed country, it is actually standard macroeconomic theory that you would reduce wages in the richer country. And the way it is described is you redistribute income upward. Investment goes to capital, not the worker, because basically you are going to shift investment to the poorer country, making it more profitable for capital but bad for labor.”
Immediately after taking over the Senate, it was evident that Mitch McConnell and President Obama were pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership. Republicans have been willing to negotiate and allow corporate friendly legislation to go through inasmuch as they have stalled most of the President's agenda. Middle-class centric policies like infrastructure spending, student loans, and the like were left in limbo.
If Democrats continue to negotiate only on policies both Parties agree on or that only Republicans agree on, the middle-class will always be left wanting. It is what has happened. It is what is happening. The Trans Pacific Partnership must be denied.