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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an international income and political power redistribution scam falsely marketed as a free trade agreement, which is exactly why President Obama, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, as well as most of the Republican Party support this scam. It will redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

According to economist Thomas Piketty, in his seminal work, Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, the United States has a record “level of inequality of income from labor (probably higher than in any other society at any time in the past, anywhere in the world, including societies in which skill disparities were extremely large)….”

Don’t let Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden lie to you. If we are going to defeat the job killing, environmentally devastating, Trans-Pacific Partnership from being railroaded through Congress using Fast Track Authority, then we need to get Senator Wyden to oppose it once again. He was against it before he was for it, so he can change his mind on this, but your voice matters, so call now. This time his vote in the senate matters most to all Americans.
Please make the call to 1-866-502-6055 and tell the senator you are against Fast Track Authority and the international income redistribution scam known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
What is Fast Track Authority? What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Why does Senator Wyden support them? I’m happy you asked.
The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Debate is also limited. Fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress. The authority was in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it expired for new agreements on July 1, 2007, it continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law in 2011. In 2012, the Obama administration began seeking renewal of the authority.

Former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder has calculated that 22 percent to 29 percent of all U.S. jobs could potentially be offshored if the TPP is approved by congress. 25 percent would translate to 36 million workers whose wages are in competition with those in largely lower-income nations. Of the 11 nations with which the United States is negotiating the TPP, nine have wage levels significantly lower than ours.

The difference between the old higher US wages of the jobs exported, and the soon to be lower wages overseas, would go straight into the pockets of the super rich via higher dividends, share prices, and soaring corporate profits. In addition, for a job well done in offshoring jobs, CEOs will receive raises and bonuses. Currently, on average, US CEOs receive a record 475 times more in pay than the lowest paid workers in their companies. See The Ratio of CEO to Average Worker Pay

According to Harold Meyerson writing in the Washington Post, “By avoiding discussion of the consequences that trade deals with developing nations have on U.S. workers, not to mention our trade balance, defenders of free trade are indulging in the worst kind of imperviousness to facts. But when the case for free trade is coupled with the case for raising U.S. workers’ incomes, it enters a zone where real numbers, and real Americans’ lives, matter. In that zone, the argument for the kind of free-trade deal embodied by NAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership completely blows up. Such deals increase the incomes of Americans investing abroad even as they diminish the incomes of Americans working at home. They worsen the very inequality against which the president rightly campaigns.

There are ways that a developed nation can trade with the developing world without gutting its own economy. Germany has been able to protect its workers not only through the advantage of having the euro as its currency, but also by requiring its corporations to give their employees a major say in their companies’ investment decisions and by embracing a form of capitalism in which shareholders don’t play a major role. Were the United States to adopt this form of stakeholder capitalism, then its trade accords wouldn’t necessarily come at the expense of its workers. Absent such reforms, however, trade deals will only negate our attempts to diminish inequality.”

If the TPP is approved by congress and signed by the president, only the rich will benefit, and at the expense of our jobs. But there’s more. Those lost jobs pay our taxes, and so the TPP will lower the amount of tax dollars going to schools, fire, police, parks, recreation, road maintenance, and DMV services, among other things.

So we know President Obama, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, and the Republican leadership in congress (think Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch) are intending to rob from the middle class and give to the super rich, and those are the people they serve.

For more on what Harold Meyerson has to say about the TPP, click on the link below.

Free Trade and the Loss Of US Jobs–Washington Post

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“A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing.

According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – along with its localized sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a “new battleground” over worker compensation.”

Why would rich people want to stop poor people from earning more money? The answer is simple.

The financial markets are Ponzi schemes. More and more money has to be pumped into the financial markets, or the values of corporate shares that are traded on those markets will crumble into nothingness. For example, if shares of Weyerhauser climb to $50 per share, yet profits go down, more sellers will enter the market than buyers, and the value of the shares go down. However, the process is also true if profits stay the same from one quarter to the next. In which case, there might be exactly as many buyers as sellers of Weyerhauser shares if other stock prices are rising.

Why hold a static stock when when you can sell and purchase shares that are on the rise? The result of static corporate profits (and profits are the key to whether or not share prices rise), is to send share prices down. Weyerhauser’s stock plummeted from $50 to $1 per share from 1929 to 1933, which is when the Ponzi Scheme known as Wall Street collapsed. I demonstrated this in greater detail in The Rigged Game: Corporate America and a People Betrayed.

This is why ALEC opposes increasing the minimum wage anywhere except for shareholders, CEOs and corporate lobbyists. If corporations need to pay workers higher wages, that will reduce profits and potentially send share prices lower. This is also why the 1 percent wage war against the middle class, corrupt government at all levels with their ill-gotten gains, and have their legislators push legislation to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This is also why we have much greater inflation today than the government lets us know about, but that’s another story.

Check out the rest of the story from the Guardian by clicking on the link below.

How a powerful rightwing lobby is plotting to stop minimum wage hikes–the Guardian

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(A message from Citizen’s Trade Campaign, with a couple of extra graphs and paragraphs from me)

President Obama is likely to use the State of the Union to push for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the rigged “fast track” trade promotion authority. Here are some facts to counter the expected public relations campaign.

Of Course “Trade” Is Good.

But first, of course “trade” is a good and necessary thing. We all trade with others. This is how people, businesses and even countries “make a living.” Critics of our country’s current trade policies are not “anti-trade”; they are anti-trade-deficit. They are opposed to the use of so-called “trade” agreements to promote the interests of the largest multinational and Wall Street corporations at the expense of America’s working people, its middle class, its domestic “Main Street” companies, our environment and the country’s long-term economic health.

Compare the timeline of a chart of our country’s trade deficits with the increase in the economic tensions of our middle class, our manufacturing regions and other economic troubles:

You will notice in the graph above and the graph below the amazing coincidence of the US trade deficit with the growth of income inequality in the United States. They mirror each other perfectly. That’s because trade agreements are negotiated to increase income inequality. They are negotiated to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is no different than any other income redistribution treaty.

As the US trade in goods and services goes down in the graph above, you can see the 1 percent get richer in the graph below, while the rest of us suffer the consequences. When a job is shipped overseas, or a trade agreement paved the way for a US corporation to create jobs over there rather than over here, the difference between the old, higher US wages and the new lower wages over there goes straight  into the pockets of the affluent via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends.

Jobs are the largest export product of the United States. Nearly 29 million of them were exported from the United States from 1990 to 2010 (see graph below), and that doesn’t even count the jobs that trade treaties allow to be created overseas by US corporations. Those exported jobs are the principle reason the US economy is historically weak. Exporting those jobs overseas have taken away trillions of dollars from the 99 percent, and weakened the demand for US goods and services in the process.

And every one of those exported jobs represents lost tax dollars that should have gone to schools, fire, police, infrastructure and the social safety nets, such as the Social Security Trust Fund and Medicare. Those jobs used to pay the wages of US workers, but international trade has redistributed the wages and salaries of those jobs from working Americans to the rich, and every year each of those jobs exist overseas is another year in which income continues to be redistributed to the 1 percent via that same job, for as long as each job exists.

International trade treaties are the primary means to end the idea of shared prosperity, and they are the primary reason why 95 percent of all income growth in the USA has gone to the 1 percent since 2009. The evidence on this is overwhelming. And the president of the USA is trying to rig the economic game against the 99 percent even more with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trade policies that are rigged to boost the interests of the giant, multinational corporations at the expense of the rest of us are not good at all. “Trade” agreements and “offshoring” of jobs have become synonymous. But “trade” doesn’t at all have to be about moving American jobs and factories out of the country so that executives can pocket the pay difference and the difference in the cost of enforcing environmental protections.

The Recent Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement Is An Example

During the State of the Union speech the president is expected to feature the owner of a small business that has increased its exports to South Korea since the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed. This is ironic. Americans believe in and support small business – hence the use of the owner of one – but our country’s trade deals have been negotiated primarily for the benefit of giant, multinational corporations, and their interests often collide with the interests of smaller, “Main Street” businesses.

Some American businesses have indeed added sales and workers as a result of the KORUS FTA. But the fact is that since that trade agreement was signed the U.S. trade deficit with Korea has grown 50 percent – a metric that has resulted in 50,000 American jobs lost. In other words, since the KORUS FTA went into effect, South Korea is selling much more to us than the country is buying from us – and this problem is getting worse and worse. And as the trade deficit chart above shows, this just happens to be the record of our “trade” agreements.

Please take a look at this Census Bureau data page, “Trade in Goods with Korea, South.”

The KORUS FTA went into effect in March 2012. That month we sold $4,224 million in goods to South Korea and we imported $4,788.2 million in goods.

In November 2014 the U.S. had a $2.8 billion monthly trade deficit with Korea – the highest monthly U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea on record. We had $6.3 billion in imports from Korea (a record) and $3.5 billion in exports to Korea that month. In the first two years of the KORUS FTA, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea went up by 50 percent (a $7.6 billion increase).

So since March 2012 our exports to South Korea decreased from $4.224 billion to $3.5 billion. Meanwhile, our imports increased from $4.788 billion to $6.3 billion.

The KORUS FTA has hit American small businesses harder than large ones. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, small firms with fewer than 100 employees saw exports to Korea drop 14 percent while firms with more than 500 employees saw exports decline by 3 percent. According to “Report Funded by Big Business Explains to Small Businesses What’s Best for Them” at Public Citizen’s Eyes on Trade blog, “As a result, under the Korea FTA, small businesses are capturing an even smaller share of the value of U.S. exports to Korea (just 16 percent), while big businesses’ share has increased to 72 percent.”

This is the record: The KORUS FTA so far has resulted in a trade deficit of $2.8 billion a month, representing the loss of around 50,000 jobs. It has been harder on smaller businesses than larger ones, allowing the larger businesses to push the smaller businesses aside. But in the State of the Union, the president is going to bring attention to the owner of one small business that increased its exports and hired more workers, and use this to say to make the public think that the KORUS FTA has been good for our country – and that we should enter into more agreements like it.

Other Trade Agreements

The KORUS FTA certainly is not our only “free trade” agreement. NAFTA is the shorthand name many Americans use for our trade agreements generally. How has NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement – worked out for the U.S.?

The Public Citizen Global Trade Watch report titled, “NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health Laws” compared the promises with which NAFTA was sold to the results measured 20 years later. Some of the effects of NAFTA that are highlighted in the report include:

● a $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada,
● one million net U.S. jobs lost because of NAFTA,
● a doubling of immigration from Mexico,
● larger agricultural trade deficits with Mexico and Canada,
● and more than $360 million paid to corporations after “investor-state” tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies.

The data also show how post-NAFTA trade and investment trends have contributed to:

● middle-class pay cuts, which in turn contributed to growing income inequality;
● U.S. trade deficit growth with Mexico and Canada 45 percent higher than with countries not party to a U.S. Free Trade Agreement,
● U.S. manufacturing and services exports to Canada and Mexico that have grown at less than half the pre-NAFTA rate.

What about our deal to bring China into the World Trade Organization? Obviously South Korea is small potatoes when compared with China and the data bear this out. In August 2012 the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the U.S. lost 2.7 million jobs as a result of the U.S.-China trade deficit between 2001 and 2011, with 2.1 million of those lost in the manufacturing sector. Along with these job losses, U.S. wages fell due to the competition with cheap Chinese labor, which has cost a typical U.S. household with two wage-earners around $2,500 per year.

The Commerce Department reported earlier this month that our November trade deficit with China was $29.8 billion. That’s $29.8 billion in one month! Our exports to China decreased $200 million to $11.1 billion and our imports from China decreased $100 million to $40.9 billion from the previous month. Think how many jobs would be created here if $29.8 billion of additional orders came in to companies making and doing things inside the U.S., and this continued every month!

Balance Needed

Trade should be balanced or economies are thrown out of whack. “Trade” is supposed to mean we buy from them and they buy from us. It is not supposed to mean we buy from them and later they use the money to buy us. It is not supposed to mean we send jobs and factories out of our country so that a few executives and shareholders can pocket the wage difference and the reduction of environment enforcement costs.

Exports are great, but if a deal to increase exports increases imports even more, we have a trade deficit and are still at a net loss of jobs, factories and wealth. This means that we are still offshoring jobs so that executives can line their pockets with the wage differential. This has been the case with the KORUS FTA. This has been the case with NAFTA. This has so obviously been the case with China. The last thing We the People need is even more of this.

The reason our trade policies are working out this way is because the beneficiaries of this kind of trade deal are the ones controlling and negotiating these trade deals. The giant, multinational corporations and Wall Street make money from offshoring U.S. jobs and production – partly because our tax laws encourage this activity. The rest of us, including our “Main Street” businesses and the country at large, are net losers. This is obvious to anyone who drives through much of the country or who talks to regular, working people. This is obvious to anyone who looks at the timeline of that trade deficit chart and compares that to the economic shifts of our last few decades.

Our trade negotiating process is rigged from the start. Giant, multinational and Wall Street corporate interests are at the negotiating table. Consumer, labor, environmental, human rights, democracy, health and all the other stakeholder representatives are excluded and the results of these negotiations reflect this. A rigged process called “fast track” is used to essentially force Congress to pre-approve the agreements before the public has a chance to analyze and react to them.

Obviously the giant, multinational and Wall Street corporations would want the public to believe that everyday small businesses gain from our trade deals, when in fact they do not. It is less obvious why President Obama would want to present at the State of the Union the story of one small business that does not reflect the reality of the trade deals he is promoting.

_______________________________________________
The CTC-field list provides trade reform advocates with timely information for organizing field activists outside of Washington D.C. The list administrators prioritize postings based on current CTC field activities, the congressional agenda, and likelihood of actually mobilizing people into real action. Please contact the list administrator with any questions.

The Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) is a national coalition whose members include Americans for Democratic Action, Communications Workers of America, Friends of the Earth U.S., Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, National Family Farm Coalition, National Farmers Union, Pubic Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Sierra Club, TransAfrica Forum, UNITE HERE, United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, United Mineworkers of America, United Steelworkers, United Students Against Sweatshops and Witness for Peace, as well as regional, state, and city-based coalitions, organizations, and individual activists throughout the United States.

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While US Senator Elizabeth Warren battles for the working families of the United States, Wall Street Senator’s Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch are launching the latest assault against the middle class by pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) income redistribution agreement through the senate.

Wyden, Hatch, and McConnell support the treaty because it will redistribute more income from the 99 to the 1 percent, which is precisely why Warren opposes this boondoggle.

In her speech, Warren says that 90 percent of the people of the US received about 70 percent of income growth from the 1930s until 1980. Since then, Warren points out, the top 10 percent has gotten 100 percent of all income growth, which is something Wyden, Hatch, and McConnell are working so hard to do. But that’s not quite accurate.

Wyden, Hatch, and McConnell have been trying to push all income growth into the pockets of the 0.01 percent via legislation and trade agreements, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. They’re close to succeeding since 95 percent of all income growth since 2009 has gone into the pockets of the 1 percent. President Obama is also pushing hard to pass the TPP through congress.

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By Bernie Sanders, US Senator, Reader Supported News

03 January 15

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.

The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.

Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.

The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories. These corporately backed trade agreements have significantly contributed to the race to the bottom, the collapse of the American middle class and increased wealth and income inequality. The TPP is more of the same, but even worse.

During my 23 years in Congress, I helped lead the fight against NAFTA and PNTR with China. During the coming session of Congress, I will be working with organized labor, environmentalists, religious organizations, Democrats, and Republicans against the secretive TPP trade deal.

Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.

10 Ways that TPP would hurt Working Families

1. TPP will allow corporations to outsource even more jobs overseas.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, if the TPP is agreed to, the U.S. will lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Service Sector Jobs will be lost. At a time when corporations have already outsourced over 3 million service sector jobs in the U.S., TPP includes rules that will make it even easier for corporate America to outsource call centers; computer programming; engineering; accounting; and medical diagnostic jobs.

Manufacturing jobs will be lost. As a result of NAFTA, the U.S. lost nearly 700,000 jobs. As a result of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, the U.S. lost over 2.7 million jobs. As a result of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. has lost 70,000 jobs. The TPP would make matters worse by providing special benefits to firms that offshore jobs and by reducing the risks associated with operating in low-wage countries.

2. U.S. sovereignty will be undermined by giving corporations the right to challenge our laws before international tribunals.

The TPP creates a special dispute resolution process that allows corporations to challenge any domestic laws that could adversely impact their “expected future profits.”

These challenges would be heard before UN and World Bank tribunals which could require taxpayer compensation to corporations.

This process undermines our sovereignty and subverts democratically passed laws including those dealing with labor, health, and the environment.

3. Wages, benefits, and collective bargaining will be threatened.

NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and other free trade agreements have helped drive down the wages and benefits of American workers and have eroded collective bargaining rights.

The TPP will make the race to the bottom worse because it forces American workers to compete with desperate workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is just 56 cents an hour.

4. Our ability to protect the environment will be undermined.

The TPP will allow corporations to challenge any law that would adversely impact their future profits. Pending claims worth over $14 billion have been filed based on similar language in other trade agreements. Most of these claims deal with challenges to environmental laws in a number of countries. The TPP will make matters even worse by giving corporations the right to sue any of the nations that sign onto the TPP. These lawsuits would be heard in international tribunals bypassing domestic courts.

5. Food Safety Standards will be threatened.

The TPP would make it easier for countries like Vietnam to export contaminated fish and seafood into the U.S. The FDA has already prevented hundreds of seafood imports from TPP countries because of salmonella, e-coli, methyl-mercury and drug residues. But the FDA only inspects 1-2 percent of food imports and will be overwhelmed by the vast expansion of these imports if the TPP is agreed to.

6. Buy America laws could come to an end.

The U.S. has several laws on the books that require the federal government to buy goods and services that are made in America or mostly made in this country. Under TPP, foreign corporations must be given equal access to compete for these government contracts with companies that make products in America. Under TPP, the U.S. could not even prevent companies that have horrible human rights records from receiving government contracts paid by U.S. taxpayers.

7. Prescription drug prices will increase, access to life saving drugs will decrease, and the profits of drug companies will go up.

Big pharmaceutical companies are working hard to ensure that the TPP extends the monopolies they have for prescription drugs by extending their patents (which currently can last 20 years or more). This would expand the profits of big drug companies, keep drug prices artificially high, and leave millions of people around the world without access to life saving drugs. Doctors without Borders stated that “the TPP agreement is on track to become the most harmful trade pact ever for ?ccess to medicines in developing countries.”

8. Wall Street would benefit at the expense of everyone else.

Under TPP, governments would be barred from imposing “capital controls” that have been successfully used to avoid financial crises. These controls range from establishing a financial speculation tax to limiting the massive flows of speculative capital flowing into and out of countries responsible for the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s. In other words, the TPP would expand the rights and power of the same Wall Street firms that nearly destroyed the world economy just five years ago and would create the conditions for more financial instability in the future.

Last year, I co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Harkin to create a Wall Street speculation tax of just 0.03 percent on trades of derivatives, credit default swaps, and large amounts of stock. If TPP were enacted, such a financial speculation tax may be in violation of this trade agreement.

9. The TPP would reward authoritarian regimes like Vietnam that systematically violate human rights.

The State Department, the U.S. Department of Labor, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have all documented Vietnam’s widespread violations of basic international standards for human rights. Yet, the TPP would reward Vietnam’s bad behavior by giving it duty free access to the U.S. market.

10. The TPP has no expiration date, making it virtually impossible to repeal.

Once TPP is agreed to, it has no sunset date and could only be altered by a consensus of all of the countries that agreed to it. Other countries, like China, could be allowed to join in the future. For example, Canada and Mexico joined TPP negotiations in 2012 and Japan joined last year.

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Republished with permission from Readersupportednews.org

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At a town hall meeting in Clackamas County Oregon on January 3, 2014, I asked Senator Ron Wyden a simple question and he didn’t provide an answer, which suggests that he was avoiding telling the truth, meaning he lied to his audience, or he finally became a senator for the people of Oregon on economic matters. Don’t get your hopes up since actions speak louder than words, and he is a politician.

My question was, “We know from leaked documents that the free trade treaty known as the Trans Pacific Partnership will grant investors special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety laws and regulations on the state and local levels, which will effectively eliminate our voting rights for and against such things, the TPP will offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices, limit food safety standards, block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis, and outsource more American jobs. Why are you trying to use something called Smart Track to push this through the senate?”

Wyden immediately talked about enforcing the rules of trade treaties already in existence, and it seemed as though he was going to avoid answering my question forever, and he did. He moved on to transparency. At one point, referring to secret negotiations of trade treaties he said “Folks, those days are over when the congress votes on a trade proposal and people in town hall meetings are in the dark. I’ll tell you point blank. Those days are over! I’m going to make sure the American people are brought into this debate in an unprecedented fashion.”

We’ll see. What Wyden didn’t mention is that he is pushing a proposal called Smart Track, which he didn’t explain, thereby keeping everybody in that town hall meeting in the dark, which is precisely what he said he wasn’t going to do. He also didn’t answer the question at all about why he was using Smart Track to push the Trans Pacific Partnership through the senate. The fact that he danced around the issue suggests he’s still a senator doing the bidding of Wall Street and large, politically, powerful corporations; meaning he’s still a senator of the 1 percent on issues pertaining to redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

I’ve called him Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden almost since the day I began this blog. That’s because on bread and butter issues he always seems to side with the 1 percent via legislation that redistributes the bread and butter of the 99 percent to the 1 percent, such as free trade treaties.

These treaties can easily be negotiated to benefit everyone involved, by such things as having the negotiators develop common labor standards, such as work rules, environmental rules, minimum wages, health and safety standards, as well as developing common and enforceable regulations of financial markets and financial market transactions, but that doesn’t happen. That’s because the purpose of any free trade agreement is to increase corporate profits, not by expanding markets (although that is a coincidental side effect), but by lowering wages.

As the senator knows, the Trans Pacific Partnership has almost nothing to do with trade. It’s all about changing the rules and laws of nations to benefit the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. It’s a massive, highly secretive income redistribution scam, and there is little doubt, the senator knows this. More than anything, knowing he knows this can cause one to speculate that he evaded the answer to my question above, and that he lied, because he intends to keep pushing this nightmare trade proposal for the 99 percent through the senate, and he’ll continue to evade questions on this issue with his usual talking points.

If the senator was really serious about transparency, and really serious about keeping the voters of Oregon in the loop in “an unprecedented fashion,” then he’d have ten to twenty-five town hall meetings, and the only subject would be on this massive scam called a trade treaty. He’d also make certain the major players of the corporate press were there, and honestly reporting on this issue (which the major state newspaper the Oregonian is unlikely to do), and he’d open the meeting by saying something like this,

“My fellow Oregonians, you have elected me to represent you, and so you should know what’s going to happen if the Trans Pacific Partnership, often known as TPP, becomes law. It’s going to change your lives forever, as well as increase the massive income inequality we already have. We know from leaked documents that the TPP will grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent; which will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state levels for and against such things, the TPP will offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices they charge you, limit food safety standards, block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis, and possibly result in the outsourcing of millions of American jobs. It may also kill the remainder of the US textile industry, destroy millions of jobs in Latin America, drive hundreds of thousands if not millions of undocumented immigrants into the United States, and depress wages in both North and South America, all to the benefit of the 1 percent, and all at the expense of the 99 percent. The TPP will cause the trade deficit to increase as more jobs are outsourced, and the products formerly made here will be made over there, and then shipped back here, and this outsourcing will cause a shortage of tax dollars for your schools, fire, police, roads and other public safety nets and infrastructure. What do you folks think about that?”

Until he does something like this, I’ll call him Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, because until then, his loyalties are clearly with Wall Street and large corporations owned by the 1 percent.

Of course, the senator says that such a thing as the Trans Pacific Partnership doesn’t exist, although it’s almost completely negotiated and President Obama wants to ram it through congress in January.

So, based on what I saw at the town forum, the senator is still going to help the president and the rest of the 0.01 percent ram the treaty through congress with the least amount of public scrutiny possible, because as US Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “From what I hear, Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, telecom, big polluters and outsourcers are all salivating at the chance to rig the Trans Pacific Partnership in the upcoming trade talks. So the question is why are the trade talks secret? I have actually had supporters of the deal say to me “They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them they’d be opposed.”

P.S. There is an economic hurricane coming, three or four years down the road at the most, maybe sooner, which will make the last recession look like the good old days, and Wyden’s votes to redistribute income from the 99 tot he 1 percent have played a large role in creating the coming disaster.

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By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

26 December 14

If Ronald Reagan were alive today, he would be one of Barack Obama’s biggest fans. In the six years he’s been president, Obama has managed to turn our country’s economy, at its worst point since the Great Depression, into one booming along with the greatest quarterly GDP growth in 11 years. The Dow Jones closed above 18,000 this week – the highest ever. And yet, despite an apparently surging economy, 95 percent of income gains since 2009 have gone to the richest 1 percent. Not even Ronald Reagan’s economic policies created inequality on that scale.

Since his first inauguration, President Obama has masterfully steered the benefits of the recovery to only the wealthy, while the net worth of average working Americans has dropped by 40 percent since before the recession. Today’s middle class is actually poorer than it was in 1989, when Reagan left the White House. Even though the most recent unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, most of the new jobs that have been created since the recession have been in low-paying sectors, like retail and fast food. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which most workers in those industries earn, has less buying power than the minimum wage in 1968.

According to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, if the minimum wage had kept up with worker productivity since then, it would be $16.54 an hour today. This means Americans are working harder than ever, but aren’t getting a penny ahead. When you use that data to paint a picture with the most recent quarterly GDP growth surge and the new record-high closing on the Dow Jones, the image is actually quite ugly. The insane growth our economy is experiencing, combined with the fact that 99 percent of Americans aren’t seeing 95 percent of the income gains from that rapid economic surge, means that our hard work is simply feathering the nest of the ownership class. Income inequality hasn’t been this severe since right before the crash that caused the Great Depression.

President Obama could be pushing for the pitifully-low minimum wage for tipped workers to be increased from $2.13 an hour, where it has stayed since 1991. He could sign executive orders to pay all federal workers $15 an hour, to allow government contracts to go only to model employers who pay a living wage, and to allow all government workers to have the right to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. He could be investing billions of tax dollars into in creating public sector jobs aimed at rejuvenating American infrastructure – which American engineers have given a D+ in their most recent assessment – rather than lowering the deficit with cruel austerity like the continued budget sequester.

At the very least, President Obama could have vetoed the federal budget “cromnibus” bill that was recently passed, sparing low-income women, infants, and children from another $93 million in cuts to their food assistance. But we’re talking about the president who already approved $8.7 billion in cuts to food stamps in the latest farm bill. Even the last lifelines of help for the most desperate Americans have been slashed to pieces and put on hold by the Obama administration. Even if Republicans are singlehandedly holding social safety nets like food stamps and unemployment extensions for the long-term jobless hostage, the fact that President Obama hasn’t even fought that hard for these programs speaks volumes. Republicans applauded Clinton when he cut welfare in the 1990s, but there’s been nothing but silence from today’s crop of Congressional Republicans for Obama’s cuts to the welfare state.

Instead of fortifying his legacy with economic populism, Obama has presided over an economic “recovery” where only the rich have benefited – the first “recovery” of its kind. If Obama were a Republican instead of a Democrat, Republicans would be singing his praises. Instead, liberals and partisan Democrats are celebrating the news of growth they don’t benefit from, and are the first to shout from mountaintops about lower deficit numbers. In terms of economic policy, Obama and his most diehard supporters are Reagan Republicans. But despite their similarities in economic policy, Reagan would be even more proud of Obama for his foreign policy.

As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, President Obama has extended George W. Bush’s War on Terror from just Iraq and Afghanistan to Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Libya, and even the Philippines. The U.S. military has more of a presence than ever in the Middle East since Obama took office, with the Iraq War alone costing as much as $4 trillion. Obama has been just as steadfast a supporter of Israel as any of his predecessors – standing by them even as they bombed civilian targets in Gaza earlier this year. He recently signed off on supplying the Israeli weapons stockpile with another $200 million infusion; this is the same stockpile that Israel used to bomb Gaza. And thanks to Obama’s signature, Israel will now have the capability to refuel fighter jets in mid-air, which would be necessary if Israel wanted to launch airstrikes in Iran.

It speaks volumes that President Obama agreed to cut food stamps by $8.7 billion and WIC by $93 million, but committed to spending $1 trillion over the next 30 years to upgrade our nuclear weapons stockpile. Even while Obama has supported the idea of equipping police officers with body cameras, his defense department stands by the Pentagon’s 1033 program that allows military equipment like grenade launchers, sniper rifles, and apache helicopters to flow to local and county police departments. And despite his historic move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, Obama is still stuck in a cold war mentality of the U.S. having to command the widest array of nuclear weapons. Obama’s record on foreign policy and the military-industrial complex puts Reagan’s to shame. The ludicrous “Star Wars” program and the 1983 invasion of Grenada don’t hold a candle to the current administration’s imperialist worldview.

From a policy standpoint, it makes no logical sense for Republicans to hate Obama as much as they do. He’s simultaneously expanded the worst economic policies we saw under Reagan and the worst foreign policy we saw under George W. Bush. The rich are richer than ever before, the middle class is becoming poorer, and the poor have had their already razor-thin social safety nets cut to the barest of margins. On top of all of that, the U.S. military is engaged in permanent wars all over the Middle East, and the cold war mentality that drove Reagan and George H. Bush is still very much alive in the current White House. The only reasonable explanation left for Republicans’ fervent opposition to everything Obama says and does is that he’s black.

Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary “We’re Not Broke,” which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at carl@rsnorg.org, and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reprinted with permission from Readersupportednews,org.

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