Look Who is Selling the TransPacific Partnership

Rather than take this letter by some Serious Economists pumping for the TransPacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership apart myself, I thought it would make for good reader target practice. But the fact that they feel compelled to weigh in suggests that the Administration and its big corporate allies feel the need to mount a full court press. So I trust that readers will use some of the arguments from the comments on this post, or one earlier in the week, and call your Senators and Representative (phone numbers here and here) and tell them you expect them to vote against fast track authority for these toxic deals.

transpacific partnership letter

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    1. CB

      Your link gets this:

      “Something is technically wrong.

      Thanks for noticing—we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

      A reply of sorts.

  1. Pepsi

    So much for Greg Mankiw’s protestations about economics being a neutral science devoid of all ideology.

    1. low integer

      I think he must of meant to say that economics is an ideologically based non-science devoid of all neutrality.

  2. sd

    The letter lost me at “…and consonant with our domestic priorities.”
    Yes, indeedy, I am quite sure TPP, etc is in fact quite consonant with YOUR domestic priorities, but not so much for those of us in the 99%.
    A veritable who’s who of neoliberals signed that letter…

    1. hunkerdown

      Excellent. They’ve gotten so far by conflating our priorities with theirs, in an act not unlike taking hostages. Always ask “whose?”

  3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Could there be a more discredited field than economics? Queen Elizabeth summoned the best and the brightest in England after the crisis started in 2008 and asked “why did this happen and why didn’t you see it coming?”. The answer came: “we don’t don’t know, and we don’t know”. Modern Portfolio Theory, Keynesianism, Krugmanism, Bernanke-ism, Kuroda-ism, failed ideologies all. Yet with not a speck of humility or recognition about the depths of their failure, not a pretty sight at all. And now this, toxic corporo-fascism masquerading as yet more failed “globalism”.

    1. Carla

      Thank you, HAL, for capturing the essence of the brand in a succinct phrase:

      TPP = TCF: Toxic Corporo-Fascism masquerading as yet more failed “globalism.”

    2. NOTaREALmerican

      I’d hardly say failed. The top 10% are doing better than at any time in history.

      1. Carla

        Appreciate your viewpoint, but I would call failing for the 90 percent to be a pretty significant failure. Not that it wasn’t planned, mind you.

        1. redleg

          When the goal from the start is a Dennis Moore wealth redistribution from bottom to top, and that’s exactly what happens when the plan is executed, it is not just a success but a resounding one. The results are anything but a failure since there was never any intent to help the serfs.

    3. different clue

      Dean Baker claimed to see it coming before it came. Several years before the Housing Crash, he was writing that housing is overpriced and claiming that he himself was renting and saving money till house prices crashed back to sensible levels. And then he would buy. If he is telling thruth about having rented through the years-of-runup, then he did indeed see it coming. And so may have others.

      So the question is: what class interests were the see-no-crash-coming economists serving by pretending to see no crash coming? And I don’t believe they didn’t really see it. I believe that Greenspan spent many years at the Fed very carefully engineering this outcome deliberately and on purpose.

    4. low integer

      Could there be a more discredited field than economics?

      Economics has taken the lead, but political science is still in the race. How many other fields can boast having a name that consists of an oxymoron?

      1. praedor

        As a general rule, any endeavor that has the word “science” as an integral part of its title isn’t.

  4. ewmayer

    I would simply ask the list of ‘luminaries’ headed by none other than Mr. Bubble himself this:

    How do the promises of “great returns for all involved” compare to promises made about previous “free trade” agreements such as NAFTA. and how did those previous promises work out in practice? By way of a specific example, did the provisions in NAFTA intended to ‘combat corruption and to strengthen environment and labor standards’ lead to lower corruption and better environmental and labor practices in our major trading partner, Mexico?

    I’ll let other NC readers address the issue of how putting the ‘rights to profit’ of multinationals on a similar basis – if not above – as the national sovereignty of various participant countries squares with America’s oft-stated commitment to respecting the self-determination rights of sovereigns and their peoples. (Well, at least those who don’t threaten ‘our way of life’. And who practice ‘American-style democracy’, whatever that means. And those who allow unfettered access to the global looter elite. Hosting U.S. military bases is also a plus. Sending troops to ‘help fight for freedom’ is not required, but is also a plus, as is providing unfettered access for NSA data-sucking. See how easy it is to have your country’s sovereignty respected?)

  5. cassiodorus

    Because what’s REALLY important to the legacy of Important People is that the decisions of the US government be subordinated to the diktats of an unelected corporate tribunal or two.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Exactly. All the same crooks and liars complicit in the 2008 collapse and subsequent looting of the taxpayers (never let a good crisis go to waste). We should listen to their wisdom now because they were so very right back then, cough cough. The absolute absurdity of the USSA. I just have to laugh because I have no more tears.

    2. Mel

      That’s the thing they carefully don’t say. They stick with “Trade is Good, This is Trade, This is Good.” The problem being that that has nothing to do with the real effects of TPP.
      They do “Expanded trade through these agreements will contribute to higher incomes and stronger productivity growth …” despite the fact that trade is already about as free as it will get, and won’t be expanded by further tweaking, as Krugman noticed in his initial puzzlement over what the treaty could possibly be for.
      I suppose it’s the Inside Job thing people have mentioned. The price of having an inside job is you sign things like this. Otherwise the inside job is gone and you find yourself in that movie Mephisto. Schauspieler!

      1. hunkerdown

        Well, it is trade, insofar as transnational primitive accumulation of rights themselves might be called as much.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Only if the “citizens” care. Any sports on this weekend to distract the teaming-masses?

      1. jrs

        I’ll contact my Rep but the Senators I’m getting tired of wasting my time. The reply is always this: I agree with you and share your concerns about this bill, they trouble me also, in fact keep me up at night (ok I made that last part up). However I had to vote for the bill anyway because [insert we had to bomb the village in order to save it reason here]”

        It’s always the exact same formula, it may be a bot, just do a bunch of mirror of the users concern (like the Eliza bot) with a bunch of corporate excuse making.

        To the Senators from California: you don’t’ represent anyone except your moneygrubbing war-making selves! Not me and probably not most Californians, although someone is voting Dem leading candidate party line idiocy. And anyway whose idea was it to have two people represent a population of millions anyway? Just retire or die or something already please, and hurry it up.

    2. Ian

      Of the highest order. I’d recommend writing to your respective elected officials saying as a citizen, and in the interests of the USA (and pretty much every other Country that is being compromising their respective Countries by agreeing to this crap), you refuse to recognize the validity of our current Government and what it is doing in regards to these deals.

  6. DanB

    Five of these “folks” were featured in “Inside Job”. They include: Greenspan (refused to be interviewed), Bernanke (refused to be interviewed), Tyson (refused to be interviewed), Hubbard (came off shifty and rude in interview), and Feldstein (played dumb in interview). it would be interesting to know if they received a fee to sign this letter.

    1. Carla

      Agreeing to the interview in “Inside Job” could have been the stupidest thing Hubbard ever did–and I am SO GLAD he did it.

      If Charles Ferguson wants to extend the corruption-fighting value of his brilliant documentary, perhaps he would consider excerpting Hubbard’s screen time, posting it on youtube and tweeting it out, so that the public can see the esteemed Columbia professor, NYT columnist and now TPP salesman for the squirming little worm he really is.

    2. Nat Scientist

      Of course they received a fee for signing the letter. Their signatures entitle them to future paychecks as approvers in the first place. What’s not to like studying about the selling of the successful ones, embellished with odes of justification and praise for their bon temps roulez. When in Rome, sing like the econometricians and the patricians of Empire do. It’s different this time; they struggle to present as keepers of the cemeteries of failed narratives.

  7. cnchal

    International trade is fundamentally good for the U.S. economy, beneficial to American families over time, and consonant with our domestic priorities.

    Well, yes. The names of 14 economists are on this list, and it would be their priority, but have they read and analyzed the text of the TPP and TTIP? Can they tell us what’s in it? We aren’t allowed to know.

    Expanded trade through these agreements will contribute to higher incomes and stronger productivity growth over time in both the United States and other countries. U.S. businesses will enjoy improved access to overseas markets, while the greater variety of choices and lower prices trade brings will allow household budgets to go further to the benefit of American families.

    Remember Sparta, Tennessee? How did “expanded trade through these agreements” help them when Phillips closed their best performing, highest productivity lighting factory, and moved that production to Mexico?

    Trade is beneficial for our society as a whole, but the benefits are unevenly distributed and some people are negatively affected by increased global competition. The economy wide benefits resulting from increased trade provide resources to make progress on important social goals, including helping those who are adversely affected.

    How do people that lose their jobs by moving production to a low or no wage country benefit from lower prices of imports? There has never been any help to “those who are adversely affected”, and never will be.

    Indeed, trade agreements signed under both Democratic and Republican Presidents have included provisions to combat corruption and to strengthen environment and labor standards.

    Those provisions are worthless. China is a toxic waste dump, and labor standards are non existent. We have cemented in place a wasteful high energy requirement system of global production, where raw materials are dug up and shipped to China, processed in the most polluting way possible into finished goods, and then shipped all over the world again. Great for the likes of Apple and Walmart. Horrible for everyone else. Economist approved.

    As for combating corruption, these 14 should look in a mirror. They are corruption.

    1. susan the other

      And China is such a lucrative trade loophole that even tho’ the TPP is said to exclude China because of its state owned enterprises, in fact it would not exclude manufacturing in China (even at SOEs) because any corporation can then launder the goods by shipping them to yet another country in the TPP to package them and ship them on.

    2. JCC

      And don’t forget this one:

      Trade Promotion Authority provides for an up or down vote on these agreements, without amendments, and thereby encourages our trade partners to put their best offers on the table.

      This statement infers that our trade partners (Govts) are getting full rights to negotiate the draft agreement in order to put their best offers on the table.

      They aren’t, anymore than we are.

      This entire document is just one prevarication after another. It should have been published in The Onion.

  8. nippersdad

    The people that created the problem claiming to want to solve it, again. Currency manipulation being the most recent bugbear in Congress, I wonder that they had the guts to even bring it up.

    1. Dirk77

      One good thing to come out of DC has been the NSF’s policy of encouraging education in science at the pre-college level. I hope that helps people realize the stunning fraud that is modern economics and the shameless turds who lead the parade.

      1. nippersdad

        Forty years of data on the “benefits” of their economic priorities to “families over time” has provided a large chunk of data from which to extrapolate actual results. I sure hope that you are right and that people are better able to read the charts, because the evidence of malpractice is pretty damning, even if those responsible cannot (or will not) see it.

        1. Dirk77

          Well, any proper science education is good but I don’t know if it will be sufficient. A lot of professional scientists don’t seem to know what science is about, for example. As Yves often quotes: “Science progresses one funeral at a time” (Max Planck). Since economics is “religion without the aesthetics” (Nassim Taleb), you can imagine how slow people there are to catch on to how their policies are harmful, assuming they are trying to be honest, which as it is glaringly clear, the signers of that letter aren’t. Apologies for the crudity in the previous comment, by the way.

          1. nippersdad

            No need to apologize to me! I have made far more pointed comparisons in my communications with my own Congress critters than that. It may not be useful or helpful, but it certainly does feel good. If that is all that they are good for, then best to get your money’s worth and say what you really think.

    2. susan the other

      Yes, the paragraph on currency manipulation was a stunner: “It is not desirable for trade agreements to include provisions aimed at so-called currency manipulation. This is because monetary policy affects the value of currencies.” (this para sounds so Greenspan-circular-blabber)…”Attempts to penalize countries for supposedly manipulating exchange rates would thus impose constraints on US monetary policy, to the detriment of all Americans.” Amazing stuff. And timely because of the head-on collision in congress over QE v. the strong dollar and the whole blowback as it affects our exports. And because austerity is the unspoken law of the land, these wise men don’t need to put too fine a point on it. Trade is good and we need it to fund our social programs because there will be no deficit spending unless it is over our dead bodies. Somehow I think Boehner will not be able to use this wording to convince the enemies of TPP on the right. And the enemies of TPP on the left will see this letter as a threat that if they do not sign on they can forget about social progress altogether. Pretty closed-minded attempt to strong arm democracy. I think the letter is disgusting.

      1. susan the other

        There is also an irony here that our sovereignty is as trashed as Greece’s. If we do sign on to TPP we should do it with sovereign monetary policies unrestricted (to offset a few bumps in the road) but the overall effect will be to gut our own economy; if we do not sign on to the TPP austerity will be the new economy because our monetary sovereignty won’t be able to save us. Because the Fed has reached the end of its largesse? End the Fed. It is clearly useless.

        1. craazyboy

          The most bizarre thing in the letter was their concern about monetary policy.

          By now it should be apparent – we already gutted the real economy -> then replaced it with financialization at the top end, crap jobs at the low end, and chip away at the middle with H1-B visas->prop the economy up with cheap, easy money ballooning consumer debt-> then the “solution” is to bail out the financial sector with ZIRP and QE forevah….oh yes, and create asset bubbles so people “feel wealthy”. (at least some) But will that bubble be there for you in your Golden Years?

          Almost seems like a bit of defensiveness on their part????

  9. Nat Scientist

    “So much for Greg Mankiw’s protestations about economics being a neutral science devoid of all ideology.”

    Harvard’s chief economist proclaims a neutered science devoid of the ideology of unintended consequence testing. If it were a real science; it couldn’t be dogmatic nor fast-tracked, but rather open to question rather than homogenation. Science is born innocent, but it doesn’t last in the tribal politics of status-quo pushed out with pop-up narratives, polished by highly-paid apologists.. History is the home of all economics data; the only variable are the costumes.
    Where is the Museum of Slavery that we should Never Forget?

  10. Llewelyn Moss

    Gee, why couldn’t they get Milton Friedman to scratch an “X” with his boney fingertip? I feel cheated.

    1. El Guapo

      Hopefully it’s because he is too busy rotting in hell and couldn’t make the trip.

  11. craazyboy

    How ’bout keeping it simple and write your congressmen a short sentence.

    “If economists are for it, it has to be bad.”

    Or you could point out the letter is a nebulous word salad signed by people that have never seen the TPP agreement – because it’s secret. But these people can give an “informed” opinion. Same as they do on the economy – so I guess that’s not too surprising.

  12. DanB

    Five of these signees were either interviewed or discussed in “Inside Job.” Greenspan, Bernanke and Tyson refused to be interviewed, while Feldstein and Hubbard were either rude or evasive when interviewed. My question is whether they were paid for signing the letter; and it would be true to their character if they were paid.

  13. Steven Greenberg

    I would classify the signatories as follows:

    Not surprising
    Alan Greenspan
    Charles L. Schultz
    Martin Feldstein
    R. Glenn Hubbard
    N. Gregory Mankiw
    Ben S. Bernank
    Austan D. Goolsbee

    Christina D. Romer

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      re: Romer. Didn’t you ever listen to her defending Obama’s sellouts of the Merican people. I grew to hate her fake smile.

      1. John

        Yes, not astonishing at all.
        Totally predictable.
        Obama and his team NEVER worked for anyone but the elite.

  14. Robert McElroy

    The words sovereign and citizen are not to be found in the letter. As the third generation in my family to go to war in the past 110 years (Philippines, Europe, Vietnam) I am not prepared to sanction the handover of sovereign US decisions to panels of three corporate lawyers in secrecy. Here in Michigan a smaller example of the TPP has taken place. Gov. Engler stuffed the State Supreme Court with corporate lawyers which proceeded to dismantle the 1970 Michigan Environmental Act signed by Republican Governor Milliken. And, in conjunction with a purchased legislature provided over a $1 billion in corporate gifts while in-acting a right to work law and other anti-union measures. To my understanding under the TPP and TTIP citizens have no standing or rights, only governments and corporations. To promote as unbiased a three lawyer panel to make decisions is a fool’s errand. If the TPP and TTIP are passed it will amount for me as A DAY OF INFAMY in which individual citizens,
    the middle class, local units of government and perhaps state governments have lost their voice and become little more than corporate debris.

  15. TedWa

    The senators and representatives offices are closed today. Perhaps we could get a reminder on Monday to smarten them up to these trade agreements? Forced GMO’s on the world, corporate tribunals where the lawyers and judges/arbiters are interchangeable and giving away our national sovereignty to these tribunals, globally gutting of environmental regulations for profit, and more. Indenturing citizenry around the world to pay for both corporate failures and successes in real and imagined scenarios. Crazy. And damn our media for not reporting on these treaties.

  16. Gil Gamseh

    If every signator therein were lined up and shot, the world would be a much. much better place.

    1. different clue

      If they could be given cancer, it would be much more betterrer. “Live long and suffer”.

      1. hunkerdown

        Making them suffer won’t help much when it doesn’t stop them from acting. So they die having served the order of inequality well, but they seem all ready to die to preserve that sacred order regardless, so what is a long bout of suffering going to do for them but risk inspiring sympathy for their causes?

  17. Pat

    Dear Senator _________:

    Please note that these signatories have been advisors during the period where some of the most serious economic mistakes made by the United States Government were made with their blessing. The bubbles their recommendations produced and the popping of those bubbles have meant intense economic distress on much of the American public. In truth, for any thinking person who had examined the economic history of the U.S. for the last fifty years with an emphasis on growth and opportunity of its working class would have to see that any recommendation from this group should immediately be distrusted.
    Before fast tracking any trade deal that has been negotiated in secret without input from representatives from workers or the American public, representatives should consider who will most pay the price for this agreement and who will most profit from it. And then realize that the people who will being paying the most have been consciously excluded from the process exactly for the benefit of the few who will profit the most. And that all the benefits that are touted for these agreements by this ‘august’ group and others were touted for previous trade agreements and failed to materialize. In fact the opposite occurred in most instances.
    Also realize that NONE of these signatories have officially been in a position to know what is in the treaty they are claiming expertise about. Because once again, secret negotiations. But one thing that has been leaked from the negotiations is the expanded corporate stacked court system that would render your work and decisions meaningless. I see that these experts do not choose to weigh in on the loss of sovereign control that being able to override the laws produced by our government gives the corporate backers of these treaties. There are multiple complaints about the fines and interference from the much smaller version of this allowed by NAFTA, we really wish to expand this?

    There should be no fast tracking of ANY trade deal. EVER. But most particularly not on one that has been designed by and negotiated with large corporations at the table but without public input. You would be forgoing your responsibilities to oversee this and would also be denying the public the right to weigh in on something that will be in essence another governing instrument in their daily lives. Truth is, if the noted economists who signed this actually got to read it, some of them might not like it anymore. Everyone should have the chance to be informed AND weigh in before treaties this important are passed.

    1. craazyboy

      I like it. Except maybe strengthen it a bit by replacing “large corporations” with “multi-national corporations”, or somehow emphasize we are ceding democracy and national sovereignty to supra national powers.

      1. craazyboy

        I guess the other thing we are ceding is consumer, worker, and environmental protections…it’s hard to fit all the bad stuff into a single sentence.

        Then after already wiping out all unions in “competitive” industries, one of the few left is the International Brotherhood of Dockworkers (? or some such name – the ones that get paid $140,000/year for driving Toyota cars off the boat at the Port of LA to a parking lot) and they will still be fine.

        1. Carla

          @craazyboy: When you say “I guess the other thing we are ceding is consumer, worker, and environmental protections,” that and much more is all covered in your previous comment under “democracy and national sovereignty.”

          Actually, all you really need is “democracy” because in a Democracy, We the People Are Sovereign. We just need to throw two terrible perversions: the ideas that corporations are people and money is speech. http://www.movetoamend.org

          1. craazyboy

            Yeah but….these are senators we’re writing to.

            However, I think this is a very concise sentence that wraps it all up for me.

            “We just need to throw two terrible perversions: the ideas that corporations are people and money is speech.”

          2. Dirk77

            MoveToAmend, while a step in the right direction, probably doesn’t go far enough. I think the evidence of the last centuries is that all private donations to public officials is bribery and should be banned, no matter where it is from or whether it’s declared publicly or not.

          3. hunkerdown

            Yeah, yeah, hosanna.

            Um, we also need to throw out the class of people that exist to run interference for the Government’s interests, which in a democracy are legitimate only insofar as they are identical with those of the citizens. A culture willing to grant even the slighest legitimacy to the interests of institutions apart from their constituents (which is a form of externalizing delusion comparable to “The devil made me do it”, but Only For The Best Reasons™) — is, going by the actual results of the several attempts thus far labeled as “democracy”, interested only in developing complex machines whose function is to pretend to influence the ruling class while leaving them unmolested and supreme as a group.

      2. grizziz

        Dystopic as it might be, maybe the multi-national corporation is the evolutionary answer to the failing nation-state system. I haven’t had that democratic feeling for quite awhile now. My Congressman and Senators are always happy to hear Bibi, but me…not so much. The economists are mostly shills for the status quo unless they can get paid by a pro labor organization or are tenured by an institution which has yet to succumb to the private labeling of an endowment. I am surprised that the TTP hasn’t been offered with naming rights. The Pfizer TTP has a nice ring to it.

        1. Carla

          Oh, I think the Goldman Sachs TPP sounds much better. But maybe JP Morgan will start a bidding war for the naming rights…oh, goodie!

          1. kimsarah

            No Republican could vote for Obamacare because why?
            Now try the Trans Obama Partnership and see how many Republicans and Democrats running for re-election vote for it.

        2. different clue

          The nation-state is not inevitably and evolutionarily passing away. It is being slow-motion murdered by those trans-national Overclasses and their multi-national corporate tools who profit from the murder of the nation-state. The nation-state government offers the only possible tools of resistance for the lower class majority to protect itself with from the Overclass and its multinational corporate force-multipliers. That is why the pro-Overclass establishment works so hard to destroy what nation-state sovereignty still exists.

          The Tea People could perhaps be won over by honestly meant appeals to their concern over sovereignty. So might “pwogwessives” and “wibewals” if they could get over their anti-nationalism and anti-patriotism cultural bias. Nation-wide environmental standards for example can’t be enforced against their Overclass and bussiness enemies without effective sovereignty structures within which the opponenst of environmental standards can be beaten into regulatory submission with whatever sovereign tire irons are best suited to administer the necessary and proper beating.

          And accepting the “inevitability” of the multi-national corporation as the next step in social evolution is to permit the tire irons we have to fall from our hands. It is the depraved vision of that sick monster of Corporate Supremacism which called itself “George Ball”, as noted in an article once posted here by Matt Stoller.

          1. Rostale

            Perhaps we should hedge our bets. create a democratically controlled corporation- say by creating a social security corporation- take a portion of social security and create a corporation collectively owned by american taxpayers with the mandate to increase social security revenues by increasing american wages- for example, creating a retail chain to rival walmart, and pouring profits back into higher wages and into actively promoting american made products, as long as the prices were kept competitive the american people would be much more likely to support a company whose profits went to their retirement, and emphasize the give and take nature of the economy, getting consumers to ask “whose capital am I supporting with my purchases”. I am tired of this idea of “job creators”- the only reason they can offer these jobs is market share, which they depend on the people for.
            The way I try to frame it is that freedom consists of two things: liberty and independence- government is a threat to liberty, but unrestrained corporate power is a threat to independence, with a overzealous patent system, unfair taxation, and systematic double standards in regulatory enforcement, the average person cannot earn a living except on someone else’s terms.

    2. JCC

      “Truth is, if the noted economists who signed this actually got to read it, some of them might not like it anymore.”

      What makes anyone think that they haven’t read it? These people are at the top of our dysfunctional pile of economic dung and I would be willing to bet a week’s paycheck that they all are being advised at the very least as to what’s in every bit of it.

      Nevertheless, this is good start of an example letter to Congressional Reps and I’ll be using it, slightly revised.
      Thanks, Pat, for a great start.

  18. TedWa

    What a surprise, the Too Big To Fail economic gang of 14 is pushing trade agreements they couldn’t possibly have read.

    1. jrs

      It really kind of smears academia doesn’t it? All the signatories with their prestigious institutions without the most basic intellectual honesty and integrity. Because basic intellectual integrity would demand that one read a book before you review it, understand an idea before critiquing it, and oh yea the parallel here would be READ THE @#$# TRADE AGREEMENT before giving it the thumbs up. But of course that can’t be done as it’s secret.

  19. craazyman

    wow. that letter drowns in the nearly unreadably vacuous prose one expects in an average corporate PR memorandum.

    Not every civil servant can be Abraham Lincoln, but I mean really.

    If somebody at that level of academia or govermint can’t find words that make a good case they don’t have a good case, or they should practice writing until they can.

  20. Deloss Brown

    I’ll write seven letters.

    But it is almost impossible to stay out in front of all the destructive, stupid acts the right wing (which includes what some of you call “Neo-liberal”) is attempting to perpetrate. In addition to reducing our country to the status of Greece (via the TPP), I get emails saying they’re also trying to slaughter all the wolves and whales, make “sodomy” a crime, defy the Supreme Court (re gay marriage), defy and dismantle the EPA, end food stamps, end the National Parks’ existence and make Idaho a Christian state.

    Some of their actions fit a pattern: Conservatives are always in an inarticulate rage, which expresses itself in a desire to punish anybody who isn’t in their circle (food stamps, SS, ACA) and to smash something, anything (the polar ice caps, Iraq, unions). They don’t really care if the world is destroyed by global warming, because their love of destruction outweighs their ability to understand or care about the consequences. They agree with Kent in King Lear: “Anger hath a privilege.” Shakespeare was at pains to point out that it hath not.

    I apologize for this rant, but, really, how Yves can spend every day sorting through their horrid plans and deeds and analyzing the worst of them for us is a great tribute to her strength.

    “. . . I’ll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away. . . there isn’t a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view.” –Paul Krugman, quoted in Wikipedia, “Trans-Pacific Partnership”

    “[TPP is a] Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.” –Robert Reich, ibid.

    1. different clue

      There is nothing uniquely “rightwing” or “conservative” about TPP. TPP is thoroughly Overclass and all the centrist Depublicrats support it.

      Maybe enough rebel Ds and TeaP Rs oppose it to defeat the leaders of their respective parties.

        1. different clue

          What is it that is right wing? The concept of there being an Overclass? Is an Overclass a right-wing thing to have?

          Or is it the recognition that an Overclass exists? Is the admission that “Yes, Virginia, there is an Overclass” a right-wing thing to admit?

  21. William Hunter Duncan

    In Minnesota, a foreign corporation, Poly-Met, wants to mine copper and nickle, for 20 years, for 200-500 years of sulphuric acid in Minnesota waters. If fast-track trade authority passes, and Minnesota says no to Poly-Met, they could sue this state for lost profits. That is legal extortion, aside from Congress and Obama giving a foreign entitiy power over Minnesotans, over Americans, which is treason by definition, as economics can be used as a tool of war, and are.

    So what if most of Minnesota governance is for the mining, and for TPP? What if most of the power elite in America are effectively treasonous, psychotically preying upon the body-politic and body of the earth, with a monopoly on power? Sounds like a pending global holocaust to me.

  22. AQ

    So, may I presume these economists have draft copies of the entire document? If so, can we pressure them to release said documents to the public?

    Yeah, yeah, I know dreaming. But if they haven’t read it then their opinion means nothing. If they have read then kindly provide copies or answers to written questions.

  23. Left in Wisconsin

    “The letter writers were chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.”

    So the only two people who fit the description, are not dead, and did not sign are Yellen (97-99) – who presumably is in favor – and Stiglitz (95-97).

    1. buffalo cyclst

      Stiglitz is the only good economist that the establishment ever listened to (not they listen to him anymore). I’m disappointed in Kruegar, given his groundbreaking research on the minimum wage.

  24. Irene Rogers

    Sen. Dick Durbin seems to be in favor of TPP as well, and that’s also a shame (if less surprising) because he used to be a progressive, before Obama was elected President. OTOH, to think of the pressures on Durbin to support TPP, is to see a microcosm of what is wrong with today’s political system:

    Rahm Emmanuel, Mayor of Chicago, chief of what is left of DIck Daley’s political machine and therefore a key Democrat in the State.
    Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the another key Democrat in Illinois, scion of the State’s richest family, early Obama supporter..
    And that’s before you get to his personal relationships with Obama, whose 2008 run he supported — and Secretary Clinton, the Party’s likely nominee, who helped negotiate this thing during her tenure at State.

    If Sen. Durbin’s only risk was to antagonize a lame duck President, he might be free to vote his conscience on this one — and I’d like to think, based on the more distant past, that his conscience isn’t completely extinct– but c’est la vie.

  25. buffalo cyclst

    Very little mention of what is actually in the TPP. Coincidence? I think not.

    And, when it comes to past trade agreements, families in my city certainly did not benefit. Jobs disappeared and the NAFTA induced truck traffic has resulted in a massive increase in the incidence of asthma (the type of costs that economists signing the above letter seldom acknowledge, perhaps because the people suffering those costs aren’t viewed as “people that matter”).
    http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2004/11/7001.html http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/02/america_s_transportation_system_discriminates_against_minorities_and_poor.html

    1. kimsarah

      Watch for some emergency or disaster that triggers the “need” for immediate passage, like the bailouts. Act first, ask questions later.

  26. Oregoncharles

    Sorry, couldn’t make myself actually read it, let alone analyze it. Some of you have stronger stomachs than I (also, it’s a glorious day and I need to work outside).l
    Think I’ll just steal Pat’s letter, provided above (Thanks, Pat) and send it to my Congressmembers. Also call them and chew out Wyden, the traitor, for supporting Fast Track. I was just at a town hall of his where a whole bunch of us lobbied him to oppose it. He said nothing about his position. Slippery, worthless bastard.

    1. Carla

      Maybe we (the NC “commentariat”) should band together and take out an ad in the Times addressed to, and of course naming, the Traitors. The trick is how to do this while having the money for the ad go to Naked Capitalism. There must be some way to accomplish this, or its equivalent, and there are hundreds of minds better than mine reading NC right now who perhaps might devise it.

      1. Vatch

        For starters, ask your friends and family members to tell their Senators and Representatives to oppose the fast track for the TPP and the TTIP. That won’t cost anyone any money!

        1. Carla

          Have been asking folks to tell their senators and reps to oppose fast track, of course. I was talking about an ad calling out the specific TRAITORS who are already on record supporting fast track. So the American public can tell those particular Senators and Representatives that they will never vote for them again, because they are TRAITORS to the Republic, and to We the People. I apologize that I was not clear.

        2. kimsarah

          Perhaps create a “whip” list of who’s in favor of fast-track and who’s opposed. And who’s undecided. That shouldn’t cost anything, except one’s time. I’ll try to contribute.

          1. Vatch

            Here are some more Congress people who support the dangerous fast track (or trade promotion authority) for toxic deals like TTP and TTIP. The links provide an article, speech, or letter in which the Senator or Representative writes or speaks favorably about fast track.

            Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia

            Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah

            Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware

            Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

            Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois

            Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas

            There are others, of course. And we can also search the official government web sites to find the names of Representatives and Senators who oppose trade promotion authority (fast track).

  27. Hugh

    Is it not possible to have mutually beneficial trade without signing agreements which allow foreign investors and corporations to sue our governments (taxpayers) for $millions?

  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    Fascinating to watch those who signed the letter to Congress repeatedly attempting to slap a “Trade” moniker on the TPP agreement, even while failing to read this secret document (unless these particular unelected citizens enjoy access to it superior to that of elected members of Congress themselves for some unknown reason). Trade is clearly not primarily what this is about.

    Phoned my legislators last week to express my opposition to “Fast Track” of either the TPP or TTIP agreements.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Forgot to add that it appears Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare blueprint is being used in the TPP and TTIP effort.

      Yes, “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” and preying on “the stupidity of the American voter” works… until trust is lost. Trust is so over.

  29. JEHR

    For Wikileaks info on parts of TPP see: https://www.wikileaks.org/tpp-ip2/attack-on-affordable-cancer-treatments.html with graphics. You can find stuff on Intellectual Property and TPP in this area also.

    I see Canada has made the most objections to the TPP so far and our government is getting a bad name for not being more cooperative. Harper wants everything to go just his way so will not make a commitment unless it will guarantee him some votes back home. I hope that means he does not sign TPP in the end.

  30. Nat Scientist

    Fast-tracking secret documents that statutorily eliminate standing from millions of possible victims. What could go wrong?

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