|Georgia Teamsters joined in protest of TPP in Atlanta last week.|
Trade officials with the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations signed off on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) today, starting the clock on a months-long debate of the deal that could lead to thousands of lost American jobs and lower wages for many more.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa noted that everyday workers gain nothing from the TPP -- not new jobs, not higher wages or even better products imported into the U.S. Instead, the pact is all for the good of big business:
The Teamsters and many, many others just don't see any value in what TPP brings to this country. First and foremost is the deal won't create any new jobs here. That is significant and can't be pushed aside by proponents. After all, TPP backers like to insist it will result in new work for Americans, although they can never quite explain how. There's a reason why their responses are so vague.
But disagreement over the deal stretches much further than just the Teamsters and other unions. Indeed, politicians on all side of the political spectrum voiced their displeasure with the deal soon after it was announced this morning.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a leading presidential candidate, said:
Wall Street and other big corporations have won again. It is time for the rest of us to stop letting multi-national corporations rig the system to pad their profits at our expense.
But more surprising was the statement of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a proponent of the agreement, who argues it isn't up to snuff:
Closing a deal is an achievement for our nation only if it works for the American people and can pass Congress by meeting the high-standard objectives laid out in bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority. While the details are still emerging, unfortunately I am afraid this deal appears to fall woefully short.
And maybe the most enlightening is the comments made by Ziad Ojakli, Ford Motor Company's Group Vice President for Government and Community Relations, who notes the deal doesn't address currency manipulation concerns that would drive up U.S. trade deficits:
To ensure the future competitiveness of American manufacturing, we recommend Congress not approve TPP in its current form, and ask the Administration to renegotiate TPP and incorporate strong and enforceable currency rules. This step is critical to achieving free trade in the 21st century.
Add that up, and you've got a lot of unhappy people representing different parts of the public and private sectors. In short, this is a bad deal that doesn’t deserve the stamp of approval from Congress. As the Teamsters have stressed as part of our new Let’s Get America Working campaign, businesses need to invest at home, not abroad. And elected officials need to remember who they serve. Corporations aren't people too.