President Obama is telling some members of the U.S. Congress, the Unions in the United States., the environmental community in the U.S., the middle class (what’s left of them) in the U.S. and the majority of the U.S. population that they are wrong! I must say, this is certainly condescending to those of us who believe the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement) is bad for America. This does not sound like the President Obama I once admired and trusted.
Before I go any further, let me preface this by saying I have been an Obama supporter and give him credit for taking us out of a devastating recession and doing what he could (with the Republicans fighting him at every turn) for the American people. This is why I am so confused with his insistence that the TPP be approved.
I have read and listened to the pros and cons on this Agreement and there is no doubt in my mind that it is not good for America. I understand this Agreement is not completed yet but what is known that has been agreed upon is contrary to everything we, as a country, believe in.
Have you heard of Jim Keady (“Education For Justice”)? He was willing to stand up for what he believes in. In 1997, Keady lost his coaching job at St. Johns University because he refused to wear Nikes! He went to Indonesia where he lived for a time with the Nike workers and on the wages they were getting then ($1.25 an hr…..more than the 56 cents an hour the Vietnamese are getting now). It didn’t take him long to lose a significant amount of weight. He saw how impossible it was to live on these wages. He saw what these workers endured to earn such a “pittance”! Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike is worth 20 Billion dollars!!
Nike made 365 Million pair of shoes in 2013. Not a single shoe was made in the U.S. Nike has 26,000 jobs in the U.S. Nike has 90,000 jobs overseas!
In 2000, Keady went to Indonesia where the third largest producer of Nike products is. He helped organize a demonstration outside a Nike’s Headquarters. The demonstrators were illegally fired from their jobs and threatened by the police and military. Keady said there are still cases of workers being verbally and physically abused as well as cases of “Union busting”. Keady has been working for justice for these workers for the past 15 years.
The TPP has the same rules as in the 2009 Agreement. Rules the 500 “Corporate Trade Advisors who helped write” the TPP Agreement got. During the period the 2009 Trade Agreement has been in effect, the labor has gotten worse. They actually rolled back the labor and environmental standards!
President Obama promises new jobs for Nike if this trade deal goes through. If Nike would just ship the jobs in foreign countries back to America, there would be more jobs in America! If the corporations who have shipped jobs overseas would ship those jobs back to America, we would have minimal unemployment!! This isn’t just about Nike. They are just an example of all the greedy corporations sending jobs overseas.
In 1970, 25% of jobs in this country were manufacturing jobs. Today it is at 9%. Since 200l, we have lost almost 60,000 factories in this country. Trade agreements are one of the reasons for that. As far as what these trade agreements are doing for the workers, the environment, etc. in those countries, I suggest you watch the documentary “Beyond The Swoosh”! It is not a pretty picture!!
President Obama said “If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world. Guess what. China will do it.” This is a “politician” speaking.
The magic word is “ENFORCEMENT” of these rules! The United States has never been able to “enforce” these rules in any past trade agreements. So, how does Obama plan on enforcing them? Obama tells us he wants to “level the playing field”. Wouldn’t we all! When our trade deficits have done nothing but climb higher every time a “trade agreement” is approved, how does he plan on “leveling the playing field”? In the past forty years since trade agreements, the middle class has almost disappeared. Tell them about “leveling the playing field”!
It truly saddens me to write this because, as I have said, I have been an Obama supporter. However, he has not been transparent about the TPP. He has kept much of what has been agreed on from the public. He has been a “typical politician” going around the country trying to sell this “boondoggle” when there are so many other issues that need his attention. Here’s a thought. He could be spending this time bringing the Wall Street (big corporations) gang to justice for what they did to this country instead of giving them another way to make more money off the backs of the indigent in all those countries! I still do not understand how he could insist on an agreement that will take more jobs from Americans while “feeding” these same big corporations! I guess maybe I have “been fooled twice”. Shame on me! Then again, what was my choice?? Another president shipping jobs overseas!
I compare President Obama’s insistence on a trade agreement that isn’t finished yet (one which the public has little knowledge of the details) with the Republican’s insistence on voting on the U.S./Iran Nuclear Agreement before it is finished. It is a sad day indeed!