Monday, April 27, 2015

TTP and Obama getting angry for real

One very immediate irony about President Obama's comedy routine Saturday night around his coolness at expressing anger is that he is expressing real anger and bringing heavy pressure to bear on Democrats over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty to get "fast-track" treatment for it. And going against the Democratic base to do it. This is the same kind of trashing his own base to make a bipartisan deal with Republicans as we say in his fortunately failed efforts at a Grand Bargain to cut benefits on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' benefits.

And he's putting on the hard sell, as Michael McAuliff and Laura Barron-Lopez report in Democrats' Frustration With Obama Boils Over As Trade Bills Advance Huffington Post 04/23/2015:

Calling it "maddening," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told reporters that the Obama administration was putting on a full-court press unlike anything Democrats have ever seen in his presidency in order to win the authority to fast track enormous trade deals.

"I think if you could get my colleagues to be honest, on the Democratic side, with you -- and I think you can mostly -- they will say they've been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama's been president," Brown said.

"That's just sad," he added. [my emphasis]
The Young Turks covered this in a segment last week, Obama Moves Forward With TPP Despite Democratic Objections 04/24/2015:

Joan Walsh has more on this dispute and Obama's hostile tone toward the Democratic base in Democrats’ free trade war is getting ugly, and Obama is bending the truth Salon 04/27/2015.

But international corporate-deregulation agreements like TPP are "trade" agreements now only in a propaganda sense. Paul Krugman makes that point in This Is Not A Trade Agreement 04/26/2015:

One thing that should be totally obvious, however, is that it’s off-point and insulting to offer an off-the-shelf lecture on how trade is good because of comparative advantage, and protectionists are dumb. For this is not a trade agreement. It’s about intellectual property and dispute settlement; the big beneficiaries are likely to be pharma companies and firms that want to sue governments.

Those are the issues that need to be argued. David Ricardo is irrelevant.
David Ricardo (1772-1823) was one of the leading classical economists, known among other things for his theories and speeches in the British Parliament on free trade.

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