By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
This Real News Network video on resistance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Japan explains some implications of TPP for health care policy, but also gives a glimpse of how our post-national global elites would like the nature of the State to change. Of course, the TPP negotiations are secret, which cannot but give the impression that TPP’s advantages are not likely to be readily apparent to the citizens who putatively give sovereign states their legitimacy. So, although US discussions have focused mainly on content and intellectual property issues, it would seem that the powers that be have bigger fish to fry.
On health care:
SUTO: It would destroy our health insurance system. This is not because America intends this result [oh?]. When the U.S. insurance companies enter our market, they will focus on profitable sectors. But Japanese health insurance depends on pooling together profitable and other sectors. The U.S. companies would go after cancer and other specialized medicine to make their profits, and this would leave out poor people who can’t pay and would destroy our insurance system.
PENN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Do you want American health insurance?
PENN: Why not?
PROTESTER: [see here for a fine example] We have the best system now. Japanese have universal insurance and the U.S. does not. That’s why it is no good. The U.S. system isn’t fair and favors the rich. We don’t need it here in Japan!
Heck, “we” don’t need it here in the U.S. Of course, we don’t know what the TPP’s clauses on health look like (and it sure would be nice if some whistleblower released the current text of the treaty). However, single payer advocates, and even some of good faith in the broader public policy space, have always thought that single payer could be next on “the table” after ObamaCare, perhaps under the rubric of “Medicare for All.”
So it would be nice to know whether Obama, right now, is secretly negotiating away single payer as a possible future with TPP (which would be par for the course with Obama, by the way). The Japanese certainly seem to think that’s a real possibility. It would also be interesting to know whether Obama will negotiate away even “progressive” milquetoast Trojan Horse-y policy alternatives like the so-called “public option,” or RJ Eskow’s “all payer.” Not that I’m foily.
On the nature of the State:
SUTO: What really surprises me about TPP, and I might add ISD as well, is that if TPP advances and is implemented it will destroy the American social system. Take as an example the United States’ federal system of government. Since its founding, the states had their power and formed “The United States of America.” . Right now you have cases in which one state has the death penalty but the next doesn’t, or maybe this state here allows people to buy alcohol and the other doesn’t. TPP would take these kinds of powers out of the hands of state governments. You could have foreign liquor companies suing states that try to restrict sales of alcohol. Up until now, such a thing couldn’t happen, and quite naturally so. TPP would break down the United States’ own independent system.
So when it comes to TPP, I think you’ll see their own citizens’ groups rise up against it. And when the Americans themselves begin to figure out the strange things entailed by TPP, their own opposition will grow. And so, finally, I believe that it will not be enacted.
Or a trans-national (as opposed to “foreign”) oil corporation suing, say, Dryden, NY because under home rule, they decided to ban fracking.
Or trans-national food companies suing Brooksville, ME because of its food sovereignty ordinance.
But why stop there? Wouldn’t the same logic apply to the Federal government, as well as the states? For example, couldn’t German-based DHL sue the United States government because it subsidizes mail deliveries in small towns, an “unfair” competitive advantage for the USPS? What exactly happens to national sovereignty — heck, legitimacy — in a case like that?
We don’t really know, do we? Which, again, is why it would be nice if the government officials supposedly negotiating on our behalf would release the text of the treaty. Because one thing we do know: When the text is ready, they’ll try to rush it through, and if a Shock Doctrine crisis is needed, then one will be provided.
Not, again, that I’m foily.
NOTE Here, amazingly from the Sierra Club, is one good list of TPP resources. This quote is important:
Before President Obama can achieve his goal of finalizing and passing the TPP, he has indicated that he will work with Congress to pass Fast Track Authority (FTA). Fast Track eliminates Congress’ constitutional right to discuss and amend trade agreements in favor of Executive power that allows Congress only a yes-or-no vote…which would do much to ensure TPP’s passage.
Luckily, the Fast Track expired in 2007. Now it’s up to us to both educate and pressure Congress to vote against the Fast Track. Here’s what you can do:
- Help raise awareness of the secrecy and dangers of the TPP in Congress by writing your representative requesting a copy of the TPP draft text. You can do this by taking action at http://tpp2012.com/. Find your Congress Member and Senators at http://gjae.org/lookup.
- Even more important, we need to actually visit our representatives’ offices and urge them to vote against Fast Track. Emphasize that their job’s constitutionally endowed power to debate and amend trade agreements will be sidelined by Fast Track, and point out all the ways TPP could destroy the fabric of our lives.
So there are concrete actions to take, which is good.