Friday, March 09, 2018

New York Times/Fox News - you pays your money, you takes your chances

Its story about the signing of the TPP by eleven nations was, typically, full of contradictions and fibs.

Of course, any article whose premise is that a trade alliance is the equivalent of “free trade” is in trouble from the get-go. You can’t label your trade alliance “free trade” and then present it as a counter-weight to an exporting superpower – which is what the article does in its first graf by claiming that the TPP was conceived by the United States as a counterweight to China. Of course, this ignores the advantages to corporations that made the deal so sweet and rotten. Of course, drug companies in the United States would like monopolies – those patents which have been stretched into unrecognizability by corporate bought legislatures – to extend to other countries. This is probably a bigger motivator than the anti-China canard. In fact, at this moment when overdoses have overtaken car accidents and murder to become the no. 1 killer in the U.S., Big Pharma, with its oxycontin reserves, has been lookingto knock down laws in other countries to allow oxy to be prescribed on thecandystore model. TPP would have been an excellent vehicle for this. So othernations in the TPP trade alliance might have missed a bullet this time. 
The article’s slant is transparent enough – but the article goes further than the mislabeling a trade alliance as free trade. It reaches the fib stage when it lightly touches ground on data.
“The new agreement — known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership — drops tariffs drastically and establishes sweeping new trade rules in markets that represent about a seventh of the world’s economy. It opens more markets to free trade in agricultural products and digital services around the region. While American beef faces 38.5 percent tariffs in Japan, for example, beef from Australia, New Zealand and Canada will not.”
Doing a little research on Google, I find that the tariff for beef from Australia was not dropped because of TPP – it was dropped in 2015,due to another traditional trade treaty between Australia and Japan. 
But still, one might say, that 38.5 percent tariff on American beef must be a killer! Of course, that tariff – which goes up to 50 percent for refrigerated beef – is high. And yet, in the year since it was slapped onAmerican beef, guess what? American beef sales to Japan have increased 20%.

I do wonder if the “sweeping trade rules” include the godawful inclusion of “takings law” – a favorite of rightwing economists – that was included in the original TPP. Takings law simply says that if a country or a part of a country passes regulations that cut into a company’s earnings, well, that is a taking, and the government then owes the corporation. How sweet it is. In order to be totally fair about it, though, the TPP set up another court system, staffed by corporation picks who would be totally, totally fair, and called the Investor state dispute settlement court. Notice, there is no, say, environmental multicorporation dispute settlement court on the horizon – after all, global climate change is inevitable and good for you! But if the government interferes with an asbestos company’s godgiven right to mine that stuff regardless of the tender condition of the lungs of the miners – why, they better pay up!

The TPP, as the article does not say, was opposed by both Trump and Clinton. Clinton was right to oppose it. I’ve read Clintonites say that really, she was lying, just like her husband lied about Nafta, and once she got into office she would have stabbed her voters in the back by flipflopping. I’ve criticized Clinton, but I really don’t think she is as bad as her supporters make her out to be.


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