In a recent op-ed published in the Salt Lake City (Utah) Tribune, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) calls for approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and for “breaking down trade barriers.”
Hatch, a consistent supporter of all things globalist, argues that when one is presented with the “facts” about the TPP, that person would join in him in pushing for the agreement’s passage.
Calling the TPP a “great opportunity not only for Utah, but for the entire country,” the seven-term senior senator from the Beehive State writes that “despite the wide bipartisan support for free and fair trade agreements, there are those who fear that free trade agreements are merely an opportunity for corporations to ship jobs overseas.”
Hatch goes on to warn those wary of the TPP that should the United States fail to participate fully in the trade pact, American jobs will be at risk, claiming that “to disengage from trade negotiations makes no sense for our nation.”
With all due respect to a man who has been in the Senate since Jimmy Carter was president, the TPP is neither a free nor a fair trade agreement and is a legitimate threat to the economic security of the United States and to the right of the people to rule.
As Senator Hatch cites “facts” in support of his promotion of the TPP, here are a few details of the agreement that he neglected to mention that should serve as a warning to any senator who might be considering following their colleague’s advice.
First, it is curious that Senator Hatch would be pushing for ratification of a multi-national treaty that he has never read. Perhaps the senator is adopting Representative Nancy Pelosi’s “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it” protocol.
The fact is, no one in Congress has seen a single sentence of the agreement.
Time and again, lawmakers have been straight-armed by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) when they’ve tried to get a look inside the secret document and the frightening compromises being made by the USTR at the TPP negotiations.
In 2012, Zach Carter of the Huffington Post reported about one such rejection. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, was refused access to the TPP by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative when he attempted to see any of the draft documents related to the governance of the trade agreement.
In response to this rebuff, Wyden proposed a measure in the Senate that would force transparency on the process, and that was enough to convince the USTR to grant the senator a peek at the documents, though his staff was not permitted to peruse them.
Wyden spokeswoman Jennifer Hoelzer told the Huffington Post that such accommodations were “better than nothing” but not ideal in light of the well-known fact that on Capitol Hill the real work of drafting and evaluating legislation is performed by the representatives’ staff members who are often experts in particular areas of domestic and foreign policy.
“I would point out how insulting it is for them to argue that members of Congress are to personally go over to USTR to view the trade documents,” Hoelzer said. “An advisor at Halliburton or the MPAA is given a password that allows him or her to go on the USTR website and view the TPP agreement anytime he or she wants.”
It is instructive that a duly elected senator of the United States has to beg and plead and threaten legislation in order to see the TPP trade agreement negotiations, but corporate interests are given a password by the USTR that grants them a priori access to those same documents.
Senator Hatch, however, is apparently not bothered by the incongruence of shilling for a trade pact he has never read.
On the other hand, maybe the "top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee" is in favor of granting lawmaking power to multi-national corporations. Maybe he doesn't consider that a betrayal of the oath he took to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution."
One wonders whether the senator should be more cautious in advocating for significant changes to U.S. trade policies particularly when those changes are being hammered out in secret and may in fact violate the Constitution.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) issued a statement in 2012 criticizing the Obama administration for the lack of oversight into an agreement with devastating potential:
After more than a decade of broken promises from NAFTA, CAFTA, and normalized trade relations with China, we can now add a credibility deficit to the trade deficits we’ve seen. The leaked documents surfacing today only underscore the secrecy surrounding TPP negotiations and confirm worst suspicions about the direction trade negotiations are heading. It’s telling that it is easier for the CEO of a major corporation to access information about the negotiations than the American people’s elected representatives.
The negotiations must involve more transparency and bring more voices to the table.
Bill Wilson of Americans for Limited Government perceives real harm in the USTR’s grant of such a powerful corporate prerogative.
“We are elevating private businesses up to the level of sovereign governments,” Wilson said. “Under NAFTA we gave companies the power to sue governments and the TPP does this as well. In this trade pact, we agree that our government can be sued by these foreign corporations who will be treated as sovereign nations. This is submerging the idea of sovereignty into a sea of regulatory bodies and international agencies and our freedom is drowning in it.”
“It is self-evident that the erosion of the right of citizens to control their own lives is progressing at a rate that we are little more than wage slaves to an oppressive government and its cadre of corporate backers that consider our lives and our liberties of little or no consequence,” he stated.
The New American isn’t alone in exposing the dangers of the TPP. A recent article in the International Business Times listed “The 5 Scary Provisions In WikiLeaks' Trans-Pacific Partnership Release.” These are the five threats to freedom listed in the piece:
• Chilling basic Internet use
• Limiting access to medicine
• Extending patent protections to surgical methods
• Compelling Internet Service Providers to police copyright violations
An article published November 18 in the Washington Post declares “The United States is isolated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.” The article’s author analyzes information gleaned from the TPP chapter leaked by WikiLeaks to support his thesis. His breakdown of the available data reveals that the U.S.’s TPP partners are teaming up to affect significant changes to domestic U.S. laws on manufacturing and intellectual property.
Finally, despite Senator Hatch’s opinion — an opinion not based, remember, on having read the trade agreement — that the TPP “represents a strong step forward toward economic prosperity for all,” the facts prove otherwise. The TPP is “NAFTA on steroids” and will obliterate the U.S. economy, tying its well-being to that of countries who be given extraordinary influence over our laws.
The John Birch Society, which warned against the dangers of ratifying NAFTA when it was debated by Congress in 1993, has recently launched a new campaign to stop the so-called free trade agenda that includes not only the TPP but also a planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Fortunately, there is still time for Americans to contact their senators and encourage them to ignore Senator Hatch’s advice and to refuse to ratify any agreement that is worked out in secret, grants corporations lawmaking power that the Constitution gives exclusively to Congress, and ties the future financial well-being of the United States to countries ruled by communists, dictators, and globalists.
Photo of Sen. Orrin Hatch: AP Images