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Trans Pacific Partnership is a terrible deal for U.S.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama suggested that his administration would be one of the most transparent in history. Concerning the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), however, this could not be further from the truth. What has been revealed about this agreement is very distressing. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement section allows multinational corporations to sue local, state and national governments should their laws change unfavorably to their business. This is problematic for a variety of reasons, placing “buy local,” environmental and health campaigns and policies under threat.

As an example, if Buffalo were to promote a buy local campaign, the city could be subject to a lawsuit preventing that. In terms of health care, the TPP could prevent Medicare and Medicaid from negotiating lower prices on generic medicine, requiring seniors and ill individuals to purchase full-priced manufacturer-direct medicine.

The TPP would also take a bite out of job creation. Like NAFTA, elimination of trade barriers has sent jobs overseas, where production costs are far lower. This is because safety, environmental and health regulations are loose enough to allow complete exploitation and fewer worker protections. The TPP would also prevent these countries from enacting those protections we take for granted, guaranteeing cheap labor.

The only way this agreement will pass is through fast-tracking. Developed during the Nixon era, it’s a way for presidents to push through harmful trade agreements without any input from Congress. It has been used to slowly chip away at American rights and sovereignty for the last 50 years, but is no longer in place. When the administration comes to ask Congress for this authority once more, it should reject it wholeheartedly. We should not forfeit our rights and our government to multinational corporations. It is a terrible bargain.

Peter Ciurczak

Buffalo