5. Apr. 2013, 18:25
What will happen the next time the largest banks in America gamble their way into chaos? Will taxpayers bail them out again or will the "stakeholders" be forced to make up the losses?
You put your money in a bank and you're a stakeholder. The Cyprus crisis demonstrates that top European officials are more than willing to snatch a percentage of investor deposits, even when those deposits are supposedly insured. Yes, the U.S. is not CYPRUS. But, we can't dismiss the possibility that, should Wall Street take down the economy again (a near certainty), the idea of making all depositors take a haircut is not out of the question.
Imagine the following scenario: Wall Street banks find another wildly profitable, yet dangerous casino game (like high frequency trading or gambling on high risk credit derivatives using depositor money or money laundering or loan sharking or foreclosing on homeowners who are up-to-date on their payments -- wait they're doing all that already!) Before anyone notices, several too-big-to fail banks are On The Verge Of Collapse. As the Chain Reaction sets off a major Financial Crisis, Washington attempts to rush To The Rescue, yet again. However this time sentiment against another round of Bailouts is so great that The Bailouts don't materialize. It's not that hard to imagine The Federal Reserve and the FDIC declaring that all depositors must take a haircut along with other creditors. Tough Love.
Or is it Paranoia? Ellen Brown doesn't think so. She provides chapter and verse from a FDIC/Bank Of England 2012 joint report that describes how depositors would be forced to have their accounts reduced in exchange for equity in the failed bank. (See "Think Your Money is Safe? Think Again: The Confiscation Scheme Planned for U.S. and U.K. Depositors")
There are alternatives:
Effective Regulation?: We could HOPE AND PRAY that between now and then, regulation and enforcement would dramatically increase. But we might as well wish for The Tooth Fairy. My seat of the pants estimate is that it would require 70,000 additional regulators to effectively police the largest banks. What are the odds of funding and deploying such an army? Zilch.
Break up of the largest banks into smaller private banks?: "Returning to Glass-Steagall" is a popular refrain. But, we can't even get a watered down Volker rule implemented. Maybe another round of economic Chaos will get it done? Maybe not.
Wait for the next crash?: Then we could demand the breakup of the large banks into smaller privately owned banks or nationalize them entirely. While I would greatly prefer the latter option, it seems Immoral to base a reform strategy on waiting for massive unemployment to strike again. Millions are still without work due to the last Crash.
That leaves one other Sensible approach: Fight for public banking right now.
Let's not mince words. Public banks, whether in ultra conservative North Dakota or in China are socialist structures. The are owned and operated by the state in behalf of its citizens, at least in theory. There are no private shareholders. All Profits go to the government or are reinvested by the public bank in behalf of consumers and businesses.
Brazil, Russia, India and China, which rely heavily on state-owned banks, also are countries that have weathered the Financial Crisis with the least amount of damage. (See Ellen Brown yet again: "Public Sector Banks: From Black Sheep to Global Leaders" for excellent data and analysis.) These countries recognize that their economies need public banks to assist development, rather than relying solely on predatory private banks.
A Red Bank in a Red State
The Bank of North Dakota (BND) is a remarkably successful example of socialist banking. More amazing still is that it thrives in a state where Democrats are almost as rare as windless days. You would expect that ultra conservative North Dakota would be the last place in America to support public banking. But you know, sometimes Socialism really works. (See "Why Is Socialism Doing So Darn Well in Deep-Red North Dakota?" )
Established in 1919 by the Non Partisan League, a populist organization that gained control of the state legislature, the BND has become a fixture in North Dakota's economy. While Wall Street was on its knees begging for bailouts, the BND was turning a profit, year after year, for the people of North Dakota. It didn't get involved with sub-prime mortgages or derivatives. It didn't become a Casino because none of its employees receive incentive pay for gambling with depositor money.
Check out the current salaries of the top 6 BND officers:
Eric Hardmeyer, President and CEO: $232,500.00
Bob Humann, Chief Lending Officer: $135,133.79
Tim Porter, Chief Administrative Officer: $122,533.95
Joe Herslip, Chief Business Officer: $105,000.00
Lori Leingang, Chief Administrative Officer: $105,000.00
Wally Erhardt, Director of Student Loans: $91,725.92
While these BND public bankers average salary is approximately $132,000 per year, the top five officers at Goldman Sachs average over $13.9 million each. So our illustrious private bankers "earned" over 105 times more than the top BND officers. You think they're 105 times more valuable to society? (For more information on financial inequality please see How to Earn a Million Dollars an Hour, Wiley, 2013)
A Public Banking movement builds in the U.S.
A collection of dedicated financial writers, public finance experts and former bankers have created the Public Banking Institute to help sell the idea of public banking to state legislators, the activist community and the public at large. Its president Ellen Brown (author of Web of Debt), and its executive director Marc Armstrong, are doing a remarkable job in helping various legislatures explore state-owned banks.
The Institute is holding a major conference on June 2-4 at Dominican University in San rafael, Calif. featuring such anti-Wall Street crusaders as Matt Taibbi, Gar Alperowitz and Ellen Brown. Also speaking will be Brigitte Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament.
Won't public banks would turn into Piggy Banks for ruthless politicians?
Some fear that politicians would use public banks to provide favors which in turn would lead to more votes and more favors. As economists Panicos Demetriades, Svetlana Andrianova, Anja Shortland, put it, this hypothesis also "postulates that politically motivated banks make bad lending decisions, resulting in non-performing loans, financial fragility and slower growth." ("There should be no rush to privatise government owned banks")
However, their research suggest strongly, that private banking is much more vulnerable to Political Corruption:
We suggest that politicians may actually prefer banks not to be in the public sector. . . . Conditions of weak corporate governance in banks provide fertile ground for quick enrichment for both bankers and politicians - at the expense ultimately of the taxpayer. In such circumstances politicians can offer bankers a system of weak regulation in exchange for party political contributions, positions on the boards of banks or lucrative consultancies. Activities that are more likely to provide both sides with quick returns are the more speculative ones, especially if they are sufficiently opaque as not to be well understood by The Shareholders such as complex derivatives trading.
And let's not forget that the enormous salaries that drive private banking also make more than a few politicians and regulators Drool at the prospect of moving from government to private banking. You can well imagine what that does to legislation and regulation.
In short, private banking is a veritable Petri Dish for the germination of weak regulations, tax loopholes, lax enforcement and outright Corruption..
And what about government owned banks? These economists report that:
Government owned banks, on the other hand, have less freedom to engage in speculative strategies that result in quick enrichment for bank insiders and politicians. Moreover, politicians tend to be held accountable for wrongdoings or bad management in the public sector but are typically only indirectly blamed, if at all, for the misdemeanours of private banks.... On the other hand, when it comes to banks that are in the public sector, democratic accountability of politicians is more likely to discourage them from engaging in speculation. In such banks, top managers are more likely to be compelled to focus on the more mundane job of financing real businesses and economic growth.
Wall Street's Counter Punch is Coming:
Wall Street is fully aware that the public banking moving is spreading. They know that the BND, precisely because it sits in such a Red State, is a constant reminder that another, more sensible, and less Lucrative path is both possible and desirable. Therefore, they're determined to snuff out this movement and their Weapon of Choice is the latest Pacific Rim trade treaty. Promoted by the Obama administration, this treaty is designed to help Wall street gain more access to foreign markets. Along the way, the closed-door negotiations may lead to language that will Ban state banks.
Can the public banking movement turn into Occupy Wall Street 2.0?
We don't need to wait for the next crisis to undermine Wall Street's pernicious grip on our country. We can hit them where they live by building public banks in state after state. Here's why. Every time you pay any state or local tax or fee -- from sales taxes to fishing licenses, the money usually goes into a too-big-to-fail Wall Street bank. That's because most of the nation's 7,000 community banks are too small to provide the cash management services that state and the larger localities require. Add that up across the economy and we're talking $1 trillion in deposits that flow into Wall Street. But in North Dakota all the state revenues flow through its public bank. Imagine if the other 49 states formed public banks.
Also state banks like the BND can protect the states and municipalities from Wall Street firms that prey upon public entities that are desperate for funding. Wall Street Banksters have a vast array of bonding schemes that earn them enormous fees at the expense of local taxpayers. Capital appreciate bonds, a Wall Street favorite, can lead to paybacks that are ten times the size of the original loan. (See investigative report here.) But not in North Dakota: the BND, not Wall Street Schemers, provides much safer financing. After all its officers are not rewarded for ripping off their fellow residents.
Beating Wall Street back won't come easy. But it sure looks like the Public Banking Institute is lighting the way. They deserve the support of all of us who are sick and tired of Wall Street's greedy grip on our society.
By Les Leopoldhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/public-banking_b_3017714.html
5. Apr. 2013, 17:41
Had a rousing and often substantive debate last night sponsored by the group Intelligence Squared. My partner was the great and eloquent Karen Kornbluh (listen to the podcast -- I really thought Karen did a great job merging morality, compassion, and the facts of the case); the opposing team was Russ Roberts and Jim Dorn. The proposition was "the minimum wage should be abolished." I'll let you guess which side Karen and I took, but the good news: the audience votes at the beginning and end of the debate and team that gets more people to switch to their side wins. We won.
I've pasted in my opening statement below, but allow me to summarize the opposition's argument, half of which is, I think, a fair point from a Libertarian perspective, though one with which I deeply disagree.
Their first point is that the minimum wage hurts a lot of people. But a) that's not what the research shows (even the bulk of the work that finds some negative impacts shows that the vast majority of affected workers benefit from the policy), and b) half the time they argued that it's a small policy that affects few people so getting rid of it won't be a big deal. Karen and I tried to figure out how a small, ineffectual program could be so damaging to America that it had to be abolished but I thought they were quite muddled on this point.
Their other point was this: if we abolish the minimum wage, more people who are not worth hiring at $7.25 an hour will get jobs at... who knows?... maybe $2 or $3 or $4 an hour.
That's a standard economics point-sliding down a demand curve-and there's certainly logic to it. But let's think a bit more about its implications:
As I stressed throughout the night, you've got to be empirical about all of these questions -- there are always tons of moving parts in the economy -- and the evidence doesn't support the claim. As shown in the figure below, during the 1980s, for example, the real value of the minimum wage slid 32 percent (1979-89) so we have a natural experiment (thanks, Ronnie...). And the job indicators for younger workers didn't out-perform their norms at all.
The employment rate of teens, for example -- just measuring from peak-to-peak (1979-89) to control for the cycle -- fell one percentage point, i.e., it went "the wrong way." Their unemployment fell too, however, but also by only one point. And in the 1990s, the real minimum wage went up by 11 percent (1989-2000, peak-to-peak again), while both unemployment and employment rates fell slightly again, so a confusing pattern once again. In the 2000s cycle the real minimum fell 12 percent but teen unemployment went up and employment went down, very much the wrong pattern from the abolisionists perspective.
In other words, no first-order evidence that changes in the real minimum wage had much to do with employment opportunities for young workers. Now, this is nothing like careful analysis-it's just broad trends. But it makes the point, especially given the steep 1980s real decline in the wage floor, that you shouldn't blithely assert without evidence that abolishing the minimum wage would automatically lead to a "sliding down the demand curve." The whole point of the new research -- and I'm talking about work that finds both positive and negative impacts -- is that those impacts hover around zero, which should lead objective observers to be highly skeptical that phasing out the minimum wage would lead to large employment gains.
But here's the other part of our argument against the slide: it's the ultimate low-road strategy. Let's dump our labor standards and emulate developing economies where such institutions as minimum wages have not yet evolved.
Our opponents believe -- I'm quite certain they would happily agree with this assessment -- that all that matters is to get people working at any wage level... if that's $1 an hour, than that's what the market says they're worth and so be it.
Thankfully, for the rest of us, and for most of last night's audience, that's neither a correct assessment of the evidence nor a vision of America we share.
Source: bls; Unemp and Emp Rate changes are percentage points; real min wg is percent change.
Opening Statement: Minimum Wage Debate
Here's my main point: abolishing the minimum wage would be a terrible policy mistake that would needlessly hurt millions of low-wage workers. It is a not a policy anywhere near the current agenda -- in fact, the current debate asks whether the minimum wage should be increased. Yes, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain endorsed the idea in the R primary, but the idea of abolishing a policy that's been in place helping low wage workers since the 1930s is about as far out of the mainstream as you can get.
Let me explain why.
I got all this grey hair through a lifetime of analyzing social and economic policies. I began as a social worker in NYC working with the poor and worked my way up, or down, or sideways to whatever is I'm doing today. And over all those decades, I've focused almost exclusively on two things: what's gone wrong in our economy and which policies could give less advantaged folks a fair shot.
It is through that simple agenda that decades ago, I became interested in min wg policy.
As Globalization, technological change, and a bunch of other stuff we can talk about has evolved, economic growth no longer reaches WORKING FAMILIES the way it used to. And the further you go down the pay scale, the less growth you're likely to see.
The minimum wage partially helps offset that problem. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find a policy that does what it sets out to do -- to raise the pay of our Lowest wage workers -- more effectively. And importantly, reams of high quality research shows that it does so with a minimum of the type of side effects that I suspect our opponents will emphasize.
Consider this: the American minimum wage has been in place since 1938 -- that's 75 years ago. It has been raised 22 times; 19 states now have their own minimum wages, above the federal level. If this policy was so damaging that it needs to be Abolished, how could it be that citizens and legislatures in 19 states decided not to abolish it but to raise it above the federal level?
If it was as damaging as our opponents claim, how could the minimum wage not only survived this long, but flourished and expanded?
The answer, once again, is because it is widely understood and accepted by mainstream economists, policy makers, and perhaps most importantly, low-wage workers themselves, who overwhelmingly support the policy -- as doing what it's supposed to do: steering a bit more of the economy's growth their way.
To do what our opponents advocate -- to get rid of the minimum wage -- would figuratively take the wage floor out from under millions of low-wage workers, many of whom, as Karen will emphasize, depend on the minimum wage to support their families.
For these reasons, President Obama has recently proposed increasing the federal minimum wage. Now, I firmly believe that economists can and should have good, robust arguments about such proposals... whether it should be increased or not. But that's not what we're arguing about tonight. Our opponents think America should have no minimum wage at all.
To me, a better question than should the min wg be abolished is why anyone would even suggest such A Bad Idea.
I think the answer comes down to two factors. First, common misconceptions, ones that have should have been banished by the research. Second, because of a Laissez-Faire market Ideology that trumps common sense and Empirical Evidence.
A word about that evidence: there's probably no question that's been analyzed more carefully by Economists than this one of impact of minimum wage on low-wage workers. And the conclusion is that it raises the pay of low wage workers without hurting their job prospects.
Of literally thousands of estimates on the impact of Minimum Wage on the job impacts of affected workers the vast majority find that the benefits to low wage workers far outweigh any costs in terms of reduced hours or job loss.
Economist John Schmitt recently published a graph of these estimates -- 1,500 of 'em -- and while there were outliers on both sides of zero, the mass of the estimates were just slightly below zero or slightly above.
Now, recall that I mentioned all those states with their own minimum wage levels. That's provided minimum wage researchers with something very rare in economics: pseudo experimentation.
The best way to test the impact of an intervention like a minimum wage increase is to compare places that are as alike as can be in terms of the relevant economic variables, yet only one place sees a minimum wage increase. And these studies consistently find results for say, job loss effects for workers that hover around zero.
Now, the empirically established fact that minimum wages don't hurt the people who get it isn't the same as showing that they help them. So why do we need a minimum wage and why would abolishing it be so harmful?
Karen will say more about this, but here I'll just note that opponents like to say the minimum wage just goes to rich kids who don't need to The Money. I wish that was true. But analysis of the president's planned increase shows:
-The average Minimum Wage worker brings home about half of her household's earnings;
-84 percent of total affected workers are at least 20 years old;
-over 60 percent of the benefits of the increase go to those in the bottom half of the workforce by income level;
-47 percent of affected workers are full-timers, 83 percent work at least 20 hours per week.
So, we have here a simple policy that for 75 years has been doing what it's designed to do with little fanfare and minimal, if any, negative side effects, reaching mostly workers from low and moderate income families who need the money. I'm perfectly happy to argue about whether it should be increased. But abolishing it makes absolutely no sense at all.
This post originally appeared at Jared Bernstein's On The Economy blog.
By Jared Bernsteinhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-bernstein/minimum-wage_b_3016512.html
8. Mär. 2013, 20:16
Whole Foods has announced that by 2018, all products in U.S. and Canada stores must be labeled if they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This is the first national grocery store to set a deadline from GMO labeling.
“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, in a press release. “The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult for retailers to source non-GMO options and for consumers to choose non-GMO products. Accordingly, we are stepping up our support of certified organic agriculture, where Gmos are not allowed, and we are working together with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.”
Genetically modified organism have been manipulated through Genetic Engineering by introducing changes into DNA structure.
This announcement comes at a time where interest in GMO labeling is at an all-time high. During the November election, a mandatory GMO labeling initiative -- Prop 37 -- was introduced in California. Millions of dollars poured in from various corporations such as MonSanto and Pepsico against the ballot measure, which was ultimately defeated.
A recent poll by The Huffington Post in partnership with YouGov found that a huge majority -- 82 percent -- of Americans want labels for GMO food.
Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Yogurt and the chairman and founding partner of the Just Label It campaign, has been a vocal proponent of the move to label GMO foods. In a recent blog for The Huffington Post, he explains:
Our government's failure to require labeling, and to be engaged in developing the science supporting GE food risk assessment is an absolute breach of its responsibility to The American Public.
There are in fact lots of reasons to label these foods: health and environmental concerns, ethical/religious views or just because people want to know. In fact, Mellman research shows 92 percent of citizens want the right to know with no meaningful statistical difference between MEN and Women, REPUBLICANS and Democrats, Urban and rural communities, education level or any demographic.
The bottom line is: without labeling, Consumers are completely in the dark. The FDA can label GE foods. And the vast majority of consumers want them to be labeled.
Not everyone agrees with Hirshberg, though. Recently, a former activist for non-GMO food switched his stance and no longer advocates against genetically modified food.
Whole Foods has been selling non-GMO foods for years -- any certified organic food cannot be made using GMO crops, for example. The company will continue to makes announcements about progress between now and the 2018 Deadline.
By Carey Polishttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/08/whole-foods-gmo-labeling-2018_n_2837754.html
10. Aug. 2012, 18:26
Under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sweeping new school voucher program, tens of millions of Louisiana taxpayer dollars will be used to offer vouchers to more than half of the state’s poor and middle-class public school students. These students can in turn use these vouchers to attend more than 120 private schools, including a number of small, Bible-based learning institutions that boast extreme anti-science and anti-history curriculums while championing creationism.
Earlier this week, C. Welton Gaddy, the president of a national multi-faith religious group, blasted Jindal’s program in a letter to the governor, claiming the effort represents “a ruthless attack on Public Education" and violates The Separation Of Church And State.
“Let me be clear: I am not appalled that a Christian school is teaching its students that God created the Earth ... Children in my church learn that every Sunday," Gaddy wrote. “I am appalled that these schools are teaching theology as science, and they’re doing so with Government Money, my tax dollars."
Lance Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, echoed this sentiment, telling Reuters in July: "Almost all the voucher schools are religious schools, and many use an evangelical curriculum that teaches that humans walked the earth 6,000 years ago with dinosaurs. Do I, as a taxpayer, want my taxes to support that as a proper education in science?"
One of the schools in question is the Light City Church School of the Prophets, which will receive over $700,000 a year via Jindal’s vouchers. As Diane Ravitch points out in her education blog, the school is run by Leonard Lucas, a former, one-term Louisiana State Representative who refers to himself as an apostle or prophet.
According to Mother Jones, many of the Christian schools rely on A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their students “the accumulated wisdom of the past from a biblical worldview.”
Researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra examined the aforementioned texts in detail, citing the most blatant inaccuracies.
Mother Jones listed their 14 favorite lessons, and from their compilation we highlighted eight. Check out the slideshow below and click on over to Mother Jones to see the complete list.
29. Jun. 2012, 23:09
Editor's note: On this week's alternet Radio Hour, Joshua Holland spoke with Lori Wallace about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the larger mythology of "Free Trade." You can listen to their discussion below this article.
Have you heard about the small U.S. government agency engaged in years of closed-door negotiations that could undermine the Obama administration’s declared goals of creating jobs, reregulating the financial sector and lowering healthcare costs?
Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com
With the direct participation of 600 corporations and shocking levels of secrecy, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is rushing to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Branded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its Corporate proponents, TPP largely has evaded public and congressional Scrutiny since negotiations were launched in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration.
But trade is the least of it. Only two of TPP’s 26 chapters actually have to do with trade. The rest is about new enforceable corporate rights and privileges and constraints on government regulation. This includes new extensions of price-raising drug patent monopolies, corporate rights to attack government drug formulary pricing plans, safeguards to facilitate job offshoring and new corporate controls over natural resources.
Also included are severe limits on government regulation of financial services, zoning and land use, product and food safety, energy and other essential services, tobacco, and more. The copyright chapter poses many of the threats to Internet freedom of the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa), which was stalled in Congress under intense public pressure.
The proposed pact is so Invasive of domestic policy space that it would even limit how governments can spend tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences used to reinvest our tax dollars in the American economy would be Banned and sweat-free, Human Rights or environmental conditions on government contracts would be subject to challenge in closed-door foreign tribunals.
Indeed, signatory countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to TPP’s rules, effecting a quiet corporate coup d’état. And, regardless of election outcomes or changes in Public Opinion, these Extreme Rules could not be altered without the consent of all signatory countries. Failure to conform to these rules would subject countries to indefinite trade sanctions.
A recent leak of one of TPP’s most Controversial chapters reveals that the pact would elevate individual corporations and investors to Equal Status with sovereign nations to privately enforce this Treaty. U.S. negotiators are among the greatest champions of this “investor state” enforcement system. It would give any foreign firm incorporated in any TPP country new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. Government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for Financial, Health, Environmental, Land Use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges.
After Obama’s election, U.S. trade officials were instructed to withdraw from the TPP negotiations Bush had launched – supposedly to sort out a new approach that implemented candidate Obama’s campaign commitments to fix the damaging old NAFTA model. But after a kabuki dance of ears-closed check-the-box “consultations” with a minimal number of congressional representatives and civil society groups, Obama’s trade officials picked up where Bush left off. Actually, they doubled down -- pushing even more extreme positions than The Bush Administration on issues like Internet freedom and access to medicines.
Now a thirteenth round of TPP negotiations involving the Obama administration will occur next week in San Diego. There negotiators from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will meet Behind Closed Doors with their counterparts from eight Asian and Latin American countries. What’s on the table is a 1 percenters’ dream – a corporate power tool of unprecedented scope and might. Think NAFTA on Steroids with the whole world.
How could something so Extreme get so far? Because the entire process has occurred under conditions of unprecedented secrecy. And, the goal is to sign a final deal before the election.
Why the rush? It's because these sorts of corporate-power-grabs via “Trade” agreements do not fare well in the sunshine. Last month, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk defended the extreme secrecy of TPP negotiations by noting that when the draft of a major regional trade pact was released previously, it became impossible to finish the deal as then proposed.
Yes, in a moment of candor, the top U.S. trade official admitted that TPP must be kept secret because otherwise they won’t be able to shove this deal past the public and Congress.
We’re talking about truly unprecedented secrecy. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) is the chair of the Senate committee with official jurisdiction over TPP and he always supports these sorts of agreements – and yet USTR has denied him access even to the U.S. proposals for the talks.
If all of this were not sufficiently dire, TPP may well be the last trade agreement that the U.S. negotiates. Getting these rules right is essential, because TPP, if completed, would have a new feature relative to past U.S. trade pacts: It would remain open for any other country to join later. Last month, USTR Kirk said that he "would love nothing more" than to have China join TPP.
The TPP offered an opportunity to develop a new model of trade agreement that could deliver the benefits of expanded trade without unduly Undermining signatory nations’ domestic policies or establishing special privileges for foreign corporations. Candidate Obama and countless members of Congress campaigned on replacing the damaging Nafta trade pact model.
Instead, Obama’s USTR has doubled down. Does The President or even The White House political shop know The Real Story about the Politics of TPP? (Majorities of Democrats, GoP and Independents oppose these sorts of agreements, polling consistently shows.) If they do, do they assume that we do not?
Either way, there’s only one way forward. We must force their attention to TPP and make President Obama decide whose side he is on. Either he can let his negotiators finish this TPP In Secrecy and slam The 99 Percent. Or, he can stand with us, release the current texts and order his staff to start over with large doses of congressional and public guidance to develop a new deal that benefits the majority.
Here's our interview with Lori Wallach
By Lori Wallachhttp://www.alternet.org/news/156059/trans-pacific_partnership:_under_cover_of_darkness,_a_corporate_coup_is_underway_