I understand why people think I’m in the tank for Krugman, I quote him a lot and I have a signed first edition of End This Depression Now but the truth is I only do that (and also with my other usual suspects) when it suits me, which is to say when he makes a point I agree with and I want to appeal to authority. My only credential (that you know about) is I am so frequently… correct.
I don’t use Stiglitz that often not because we don’t agree on a lot, I think I find his views closer to mine than Krugman’s, but because Herr Doktor Professor is a much more conversational writer. Stiglitz has a bad habit of using ‘Academese’ and while I get it and you probably do too, I find myself compelled to translate which means I have to work harder and if nothing else I am certainly the world’s laziest human being.
In this case I have the good people at Common Dreams to do that for me so I can be as lazy as I want.
Stiglitz Blasts ‘Outrageous’ TPP as Obama Campaigns for Corporate-Friendly Deal
by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s push to get the trade deal passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress is “outrageous” and “absolutely wrong.”
Echoing an argument made by Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, Stiglitz said, “At the lame-duck session you have congressmen voting who know that they’re not accountable anymore.”
Lawmakers “who are not politically accountable because they’re leaving may, in response to promises of jobs or just subtle understandings, do things that are not in the national interest,” he said.
Expressing his overall objections to the TPP, Stiglitz said “corporate interests… were at the table” when it was being crafted. He also condemned “the provisions on intellectual property that will drive up drug prices” and “the ‘investment provisions’ which will make it more difficult to regulate and actually harm trade.”
“The advocates of trade said it was going to benefit everyone,” he added. “The evidence is it’s benefited a few and left a lot behind.”
Stiglitz has previously spoken out against the TPP before, arguing that it “may turn out to be the worst trade agreement in decades;” that it would mean “if you pass a regulation that restricts ability to pollute or does something about climate change, you could be sued and could pay billions of dollars;” and previously said that the president’s TPP push “is one of Obama’s biggest mistakes.”
Stiglitz has also been advising the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. The Democratic candidate, for her part, supported the deal before coming out against it.
Opposition to the TPP also appeared Tuesday in Michigan and Florida, where union members and lawmakers criticized what they foresee as the deal’s impacts on working families.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said, “We have to make sure that bill never sees the light of day after this election,” while Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said at the American Postal Workers Union convention in Walt Disney World, “If this goes through, it’s curtains for the middle class in this country.”
Over at The Hill we have a story I missed (sorry, it’s The Hill) from former Brigadier General John Adams that basically blows Barack Obama’s ‘National Security’ argument out of the water.
The national security case against TPP
By John Adams, BG USA (Ret), The Hill
August 17, 2016, 01:11 pm
While the President recently conceded that TPP critics are “coming from a sincere concern about the position of workers and wages in this country,” he’s also been hammering home a familiar and often-unchallenged fallback case for trade agreements: that TPP is essential for foreign policy and national security priorities.
As a retired Brigadier General and 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army, I’ve long considered arguments for trade deals as national security strategies, including arguments for the TPP specifically as a “way to keep the peace in the Pacific” and counter China as it “flexes its economic and military muscle.” While I respect President Obama and the pact’s military backers, I believe these arguments miss a crucial point: By facilitating the further offshoring of America’s manufacturing base, the trade pact would actually undermine America’s military readiness and global economic standing. TPP would hurt our national security interests more than it would help.
In 2013, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board put forward a remarkable report (.PDF) describing one of the most significant but little-recognized threats to US security: deindustrialization. The report argued that the loss of domestic U.S. manufacturing facilities has not only reduced U.S. living standards but also compromised U.S. technology leadership “by enabling new players to learn a technology and then gain the capability to improve on it.” The report explained that the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing presents a particularly dangerous threat to U.S. military readiness through the “compromise of the supply chain for key weapons systems components.”
I’ve seen these offshoring risks firsthand.
Our military is now shockingly vulnerable to major disruptions in the supply chain, including from substandard manufacturing practices, natural disasters, and price gouging by foreign nations. Poor manufacturing practices in offshore factories lead to problem-plagued products, and foreign producers—acting on the basis of their own military or economic interests—can sharply raise prices or reduce or stop sales to the United States.
The link between TPP and this kind of offshoring has been well-established. The proposed deal would not only repeat but magnify the mistakes of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), offering extraordinary privileges (.PDF) to companies that move operations overseas. Just this spring, an official U.S. government study by the International Trade Commission noted that the pact would further gut the U.S. manufacturing sector. This, following the loss of 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, is a perilous proposition.
Foreign policy and national security have long been the arguments of last resort for backers of controversial trade deals. A quarter century ago, we were warned that, unless NAFTA and deals with eight Latin American nations were enacted, China would come to dominate trade in the hemisphere. NAFTA passed, but America’s share of goods imported by Mexico fell, while China’s share rose by a staggering 2,600 percent. Today, following the implementation of several additional major trade deals, we’re still waiting for China to comply with its WTO commitments, and we’re still waiting for progress in dealing with our astronomical trade deficit.
While the TPP’s backers present our choice as one of trade versus protectionism, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We already have free trade agreements with the six TPP countries that account for more than 80 percent of the promised trade. Because all TPP nations are currently members of the World Trade Organization, their tariffs have already been cut to minimal levels.
Of TPP’s 30 chapters, only six deal with traditional trade issues. The rest deal primarily with special privileges for multinational corporations and investors—like establishing the rights of companies to sue governments for cash compensation over the impacts of health and safety regulations. These dominant features of the TPP would vastly expand the rights of multinational firms that do not necessarily represent America’s national interests.
Critics of the TPP come from both parties in Congress—and from the business, labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, and defense communities. These diverse players are not opposed to trade. Rather, most simply want a different trade model that facilitates the worthy goal of global engagement without shortchanging American workers, policymaking prerogatives, and national security capacities.
While the Obama Administration has been wise to shift our defense and diplomatic attention towards the Asia-Pacific region, it’s now time for a “pivot” in our approach to trade.
Not a “Trade” deal at all. Bad for National Security. Bad for 99% of us. Good only for Monopolistic Corporations.