MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's difficult for critics to attack specifics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), allegedly nearing a completed agreement. That is because, as almost all progressives are aware, the TPP is being negotiated in secret with only corporations, lobbyists and governments privy to the talks.
The TPP represents the longstanding US doctrine that global corporations (led by US-based companies) and concentrated capital should determine -- with the consent of nation states -- international financial and, therefore, labor policy.
There are no dissenting advocacy groups involved in TPP (meaning no public input), no unions, no environmental groups that might urge the prevention of climate change, no one to challenge the power of the captains of industry and their fan clubs in national governments (mostly in the developed world).
The TPP is rumored, from leaked sections and conversations, to be vast in scope and has been described as NAFTA on steroids.
So when you get down to an issue such as currently manipulation, it might be a little wonky compared to the more viscerally frightening threats of the TPP, but it is enormously important to the maintenance of jobs in the US -- and, therefore, of particular concern to unions.
What is at stake is essentially this: if the TPP does not curb currency manipulation by many nations, the cost of US exports rise, while the price of goods from countries that artificially lower the value of their currency becomes more profitable to companies. This results in a net export of particularly blue collar jobs from the US.
That is why Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steel Workers (USW) recently stated:
Creating jobs should be our highest priority. Our nation's economic recovery is in jeopardy of stalling. Our unemployment rate is dropping because too many people have simply given up hope of finding a job. Today's EPI ["Stop Currency Manipulation and Create Millions of Jobs"] study proves that ending currency manipulation would create millions of jobs all across our country. So why won't Washington act?
For years, workers have called on political leaders to confront China's currency manipulation. This new study makes clear what the benefits would be. Therefore, the only reason our leaders refuse to act could only be they're protecting someone else's interests.
It's got to be either the multinational companies who have offshored and outsourced their production, or because they want to protect political leaders in other countries. They seem to have forgotten who they should be helping -- people in their own country, who work hard, play by the rules and simply want a fair chance to compete.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is similarly critical of the Obama administration's apparent position of indifference on currecy manipulation and its impact on US jobs: "It appears that mandatory, enforceable disciplines on currency manipulation will not be included [in the TPP]. In fact, the Administration has indicated it is not seeking these provisions, despite strong bipartisan support from Congress."
In short, amidst the vast TPP document shrouded in a "masters of the universe members club" cloak of secrecy, the US worker is going to likely get shafted again.
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