Monday, June 15, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - Introduction (The TAA)

I smell a rat. His name is George Soros, which is why I am stepping outside of my usual genre and into economics. By no stretch of the imagination do I claim to understand all of the intricacies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but what I have learned so far is so alarming I must relay it to my readers. I invite corrections and/or elaboration from anyone qualified to do so.
In the military, it is called "noise", and that is what I am getting regarding TPP. I am afraid this series will contain more questions than answers, but perhaps by the end some answers will be forthcoming. Right now, it seems everyone has chosen the wrong side in this debate. Republicans are making what are traditionally Democratic arguments in favor, saying the TPP will create jobs and benefit the working class. That is a half-truth. Different sectors of the economy are affected differently, and historically trade agreements hit the manufacturing sector hard. Lower tariffs and the subsequent increase in imports create competition that this sector cannot match, and jobs are lost.
Enter the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Democrats are opposed to the TAA, a program they have supported overwhelmingly in the past. In theory, it is designed to compensate displaced workers and retrain them to reenter the job market, albeit at a lower wage. The concept is a solid one; when a federal program costs a taxpayer money unfairly, the government has historically compensated that citizen (e.g. Eminent Domain). In practice, however, TAA does not work. Most laborers do not take advantage of the retraining program, choosing instead to enjoy the cash benefits until they run out, at which point they remain untrained and unemployed.
So, the question is why Republicans would support such a socialized program (a failure, like socialism itself) while Democrats oppose it? From the liberal perspective, theoretically TAA is ideal, keeping people on the government payroll. But, wait a minute. Manufacturing jobs are largely unionized. What do the trade unions think about TAA? They overwhelmingly hate it. Why, when unions are "for the worker"? Because if workers are displaced, they are no longer in unions and therefore are not paying union dues. Money. It is all about the Almighty Dollar. No wonder the Democrats oppose the TAA. Trade unions donate a sizable chunk of change to the Democratic Party.
See the "noise"? Which brings me to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement itself. So many things disturb me about it, not the least of which is the fact that corporations are participating in the process while everyone else is being kept in the dark, ostensibly the very people this agreement will "benefit". Then, there are the individual provisions within it, which are numerous and affect one another in ways the ordinary person would never imagine. It will take me several postings to sort it all out, and at the end we may still be confused, but I will do my best beginning with my next post.
Interviews and articles will be posted as I go through the TPP point-by-point.

Thanksgiving: A Lesson in Gratitude

I found myself becoming irritated yesterday as I watched people I know on social media talking about the various plans they had for today. ...