Saturday, June 13, 2015

TPP defeat = the hippies are right again?

Paul Krugman has a nice post-mortem out after yesterday's vote in the House of Representatives not to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
If you talk to administration officials — or at least if I talk to them (they may be telling me what they think I want to hear) — they offer a fairly sophisticated defense of this deal. It’s about geopolitics, they say — America has to be in the game here lest others (obviously including China) supplant our influence; meanwhile, they argue that the troubling aspects of the deal aren’t as troubling as they sound (they make a decent case on dispute settlement, less so on intellectual property). And they argue that the deal would actually improve labor protections in poor countries....

But the overall selling of TPP, to some extent by the administration and much more so by its business allies, has been nothing like this. Instead, it has been all lectures from Those Who Know How the Global Economy Works — the kind of people who go to Davos and participate in earnest panels on the skills gap and the case for putting Alan Simpson in charge of everything — to the ignorant hippies who don’t. You know, ignorant hippies like Joseph Stiglitz and Elizabeth Warren.

This kind of thing worked in the 1990s, when Davos Man actually did seem to know how the world works. But now Davos Democrats are known as the people who told us to trust unregulated finance and fear invisible bond vigilantes. They just don’t have the credibility to pull off arguments from authority any more. And it doesn’t say much for their perspicacity that they apparently had no idea that the world has changed.

TPP’s Democratic supporters thought they could dictate to their party like it’s 1999. They can’t.
This rings very true. Bills like TPP are hated by us in the Warren wing because we have 20+ years of data back to us showing that having no tariffs with countries that pay workers $3 an hour means a race to the bottom, with lower wages for workers and higher levels of our already-absurd levels of inequality. It is only good for corporate profits, and the oligarchs who skim those profits into their own profits. And real Dems like Mark Pocan, Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, and Russ Feingold saw right through the BS arguments that the Obama Administration and Paul Ryan and Ron ("Creative Destruction") Johnson other corporatists were trying to sell.

And memo to Ron Kind- we saw what you did and how you tried to justify it. Forget about being a U.S. Senator after that vote.

Also funny to see Acela Corridor big-shots claim the opponents of TPP don't get it. A good example was how JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tried to mansplain Wall Street and the "global banking system" to Sen. Elizabeth Warren this week. Sen. Warren responded with a classic smackdown.
"The problem is not that I don't understand the global banking system. The problem for these guys is that I fully understand the system and I understand how they make their money. And that's what they don't like about me." - Sen. Elizabeth Warren
RIGHT ON. We get what they're trying to do and trying to sell, and we know IT DOESN'T WORK FOR THE 99% OF US.

Most of us don't have a problem with trade with countries like Canada or Germany or other places that have similar work and health standards for their products. It's when there are massive disparities in the issues where exploitation and bad economic outcomes happen- like we've seen with Mexico and China, and like we would see with most of the countries in the TPP. These Wall Streeters and corporatist d-bags don't know better than us when it comes to the big picture- in fact, they seem to have been wrong for decades. And yesterday's vote in Congress shows a whole lot more people are catching on to that reality, and breaking out of the Bubble of neo-liberal foolishness.

As with lots of other things (trickle-down economics, Iraq and Vietnam, civil rights, marriage equality, Act 10 and Scott Walker's resulting cuts to education), maybe those "ignorant hippies" have more of a clue than the "experts" in business, politics, and TV punditry. Maybe they should listen to us next time.

1 comment:

  1. Re: Ron Kind - Ron - the 3rd CD DPW rank & file unanimously opposed your position. You might want to watch your left flank.