The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 18, 2013

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Daily Item

---- — While many Americans have some knowledge of NAFTA, most I suspect are not familiar with what TPP represents. It is the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. It is coming rapidly in our direction with a bag of goodies for the big corporations and a bag of coal for the average American. If you remember the "great sucking sound" created by NAFTA, you can expect the same from TPP. It is a proposed trade agreement with 10 other countries around the Pacific Rim.

The TPP has been negotiated in secret for the last three years. Secret from the public and even representatives in Congress have had limited access. But have no fear, 600 business representatives have access to the text who serve as U.S. trade advisors. You can bet they put their corporate interests ahead of the interests of you and me. Think of all the jobs they want to export to countries poorer countries where they can exploit the poor even more than is this country.

We have heard all the great promises that these trade deals will create, but the experience of NAFTA and the WTO has been far less than promised. While the TPP is touted as a trade agreement, only five of 29 chapters deal directly with trade. It is really a wish list that has been put forward for the corporations. It amounts to a backdoor power grab by the corporations. The secrecy from the people while corporations have unlimited access to the text of this agreement clearly demonstrates that we are sliding further in the direction of a plutocratic, fascist state.

TPP, as both NAFTA and WTO already do, will directly challenge our representative democratic state. Corporations can now challenge our laws on all levels of government if they feel a law affects their ability to make a profit. These challenges occur in courts that are not part of our judicial system and are conducted in secrecy. While some on the right always seem to be concerned about the UN and our sovereignty, they have along with others given aware our sovereignty to corporations.

This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. Both parties have had their hand in past trade agreements, and I suspect will do so again.

There will be an effort to "fast track" this trade agreement like those already in place. This allows Congress only a simple up or down vote with limited debate and no opportunity to add amendments. It is a way to shove these agreements through before most become aware of their negative consequences. The TPP will have major consequences for our economy, health, environment and employment. In a representative democracy which in theory we have, the citizens should have time to digest the agreement and to voice their feelings on this major action.

TPP should not be fast tracked and should be fully explained and understood before any action is taken. The effect on the average American should be of greater consideration than the bottom lines of the big corporations. If the past is any indicator, we should be very wary of this agreement.

Jack D. Miller

Center Twp., Snyder Co.