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Trans Pacific Partnership stalls in US House of Reps

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Wednesday, 17 June 2015

One big fat poke in the eye is what he got on Friday.

And it didn't come from the Republican Party. No ma'am. It was hand delivered by those members of his own Democratic Party who remembered just how they got their jobs in Washington D.C. and who put them there: the 99%.

The "he" above, is the President of the United States, Barack Obama. And the poke refers to the "hang on pal, we're not cutting you a blank cheque to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership on our behalf. No way".


Opponents of the TPP leaned on their representatives in Washington to ruin a measure which would have given POTUS a clear expressway-like run to finalise the biggest trade deal you've never heard of by requiring, in the fullness of time, little more than a thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote by lawmakers. Doesn't sound like participatory democracy now does it?

Many Americans believe that castrating Congress' ability to vet the TPP, line item by line item is a sell out to special interests. In the light of the numerous cloaks and daggers that have accompanied what little official discussion that has transpired on the matter by the Obama administration, who can blame the public for their suspicions?

Working Americans both unionised and not, feared that whatever the overall benefits to the economy, the looming deal would hasten the economy wide extinction of good paying jobs.

Like bees to honey, the TPP will encourage US manufacturers to move jobs abroad where labour laws are derisory, at the expense of American jobs and then import those goods back to the United States, generating very healthy profits for corporations by not lowering the retail price of goods even though production costs have fallen through the floor.

The House of Representatives may revisit the legislation in the next few days and grant Obama "fast track" authority, but its long odds that POTUS and his enforcers can twist so many arms in his own party in such a short period of time to give him the win he desperately wants.

So how did Organised Labour manage to persuade sufficient Democrats to stand up to their President on Friday? Did it do much more than coax fellow leftist groups to join its fight? Did wealthy conservative donors who shared the union movements' motivation make the difference?


Did it flex its muscle to stare down lawmakers?

All of the above, but that's only part of the story.

Organised Labor's success is more a product of many Americans on the left and right putting their collective feet down and speaking up against what is sold by TPP lobbyists.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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