I’m beginning to think that I agree with the Tea Party.
The Tea Party seems to stand for less government in our lives (with the exception of abortions, in which case it’s OK for the government to intrude. They do lose me here) and for reducing our national debt.
I don’t particularly like to be told what to do and I’ve worked hard all my life to stay out of debt. I’ve only spent money that I had on hand with the one notable exception of getting a loan to build a home and for cars. The home is paid off.
The Tea Party presumably doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act because it would cost the government money. They don’t like anything that has to do with more government. Me neither. Let’s rein in government spending, trim the sails and have our government function at its most minimal level with little or no support for anyone or anything, except our military and roads and bridges. That’s it. That’s all we need. We’re Americans. This country is about freedom from the tyranny of government.
If this is the case then where are these folks on the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership? What, you say that you’ve never heard of TPP? Join the club. Ironically, it’s the brainchild of former President George W. Bush’s administration and follows on the heels of NAFTA and other Federal Trade Agreements. You may recall that NAFTA was promoted by former President Bill Clinton as a necessity for American corporations to compete globally. They are now competing globally and the results are that they have moved American manufacturing overseas; right along with our jobs.
You folks do seem to be upset at having lost your jobs, but there’s been little noise from you about repealing the law(s) that caused your problems. Since around 2008 our leaders at the top (yes, this includes Obama) have been working in secret to expand on the FTA’s. The TPP would now bind us to countries in the Pacific Rim; such as Brunei, New Zealand, Vietnam, Peru, Singapore, Australia, Chile and Japan.
"Hey this sounds great!" you say. "This will enable our corporations to do business with these folks and we’ll be much better off, right?" Uh, maybe not. Think about the job you used to have.
In short, this new proposal would serve to undermine our laws and our democracy. How so? Let’s say that Vermont is successful in passing GMO labeling legislation that would serve to inform us as to what it is we’re eating or environmental legislation to protect our environment. If this law is more restrictive than the TPP then the nations in the TPP would say that this law is illegal and restrictive. And they would win. The new TPP would trump laws that we pass. To add insult to injury the public, you, I and my Tea Party friends have little or no say about it. There goes your democracy.
The TPP has been written in secrecy by 600 or so representatives from major corporations and Wall St. bankers. Congress has not been given a draft. Rep. Alan Grayson did ask to see it and was allowed to do so, but he could not take it with him. This new trade deal, being written by corporate America in conjunction with our government is being done on your behalf and behind your back. Should it be implemented in all likelihood we will lose control over our food safety; our drug prices; Wall Street (as if we have much control over them now); the Internet (yes, TPP could halt you from copying information off a paid website) and public services such as our public schools and utilities. Vietnam could insist that TPP allows them to bid on our school lunch program.
A member nation in the TPP could insist that their products be sold in America under the rules of the TPP; not the rules of your state. How do you feel about Japanese fish right about now?
What I find curious is why Speaker John Boehner; the man who says he speaks for all Americans, and for freedom and for less government, is silent on TPP? One would think that if our democracy was being undermined by this legislation that he and the Tea Party that controls him would be up in arms about this initiative.
Instead, they are more focused on killing Obamacare, forcing a government shutdown and holding the nation hostage over the debt ceiling. I suppose this is OK, because when corporate America is done with this country we won’t have much else to talk about.
You still have the power to stop this. It will come to a vote in Congress at some point. Now is the time to call senators Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch and DEMAND that they vote NO on the TPP.
Inasmuch as they are silent on this issue, maybe I’m not a Tea Partier after all.
Bob Stannard is a Banner columnist.