Category Archives: TAA

TAA/TPA/TPP – Oh My Aching Brain

The TAA and the TPA or fast track might be fine bills to pass if cuts to social programs had not been attached, although probably not because this requires that Congress pass the TPP (and other trade deals in the future) without amendments. That seems like a dangerous precedent. The TAA is actually the part of this whole trade agreement business that I am least happy with.

As for the TPP itself, I can’t help wondering if we will regret staying out of this trade deal. Can the trade deal happen without us or are we the prime movers of the TPP? If the deal goes down in flames now does that mean that the partnership will dissolve or will it toddle merrily along without us? If the Trans Pacific Partnership carries on and we deal ourselves out of it will America be disadvantaged in any way?

Since most of the industrial flight has already happened, how many more jobs do we stand to lose if we sign on to this agreement? Does anyone know? I am all for the retraining contained in the TAA, but I don’t want to tap social programs to pay for it.

If Elizabeth Warren is so insistent on adding rules to the TPP in regard to currency manipulation, we should probably listen. Why will the TPP only work with TAA attached to it? Why are these two political instruments considered a package deal? Fast track makes us suspect that the government is pulling a “fast one” on us. It undermines our trust which is pretty low right now already.

Without more information, without fewer poison pills, without some discussion of our position in world trade if we turn down the agreement, why on earth would the American people support this? There is lots of folk wisdom on this subject. “Once burned, twice shy.” “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” (I won’t go on, you get the idea.)

In order for the Democrats to prove they are with Obama the media implies that we have to agree with every one of his policy ideas and we all must move in lock step. That’s not the way a Democracy works and President Obama knows that. I don’t think this is embarrassing for him; I think it shows the world how a Democracy works.

Deciding how to vote on the TAA (job retraining provisions), the TPA (fast track), and TPP is complicated because we will be making a prediction (against common sense) that this agreement will be good for us in the future based only on our opposing belief that the last several trade agreements have not benefitted American workers. We don’t seem able to back out of these agreements if they turn out to be disadvantageous, so no wonder this is a difficult decision. What do the fortune tellers say? What do the economists say? Is there any difference in this case between the two groups?

By Nancy Brisson