Friday, February 15, 2013

Gearing up to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Obama proposed some intriguing and positive programs in the State of the Union speech--public preschool, a hike in the minimum wage, and measures to prevent gun violence. In a country where policy is democratically determined by representatives who truly act on behalf of the common good and the wishes of their constituents, those kind of ideas could really go somewhere.

Unfortunately, it would be irresponsibly optimistic to think that new laws on public safety will be determined out of reach of the gun lobby, or we'll see anything close to a national living wage when big-box retail, fast food, and other low-wage employers remain politically powerful.

That's why it was very disappointing to hear Obama call for a renewed push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. We've written a lot about TPP and the damage it could do to local and national sovereignty and laws that protect workers' rights, the environment, public health, and jobs. That's why on either side of the Pacific, citizens' groups of all kinds are opposed to instituting this compact.

It takes some work to mine profit out of universal background checks and preschools, but TPP is one thing that multinationals can get behind in a big way. And they will. Why not? They already have a much better idea of what's in the agreement, thanks to access to the negotiating process that even members of Congress lack.

We need to stop TPP and one way to start is to get our communities informed about what's wrong with so-called "free trade." Please take a look at this latest edition of Populist Dialogues, featuring Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign, and consider sharing it with friends online and with your local community access cable station.

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