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Trans-Pacific Partnership will destroy more U.S. jobs

I voted for President Obama because I thought Mitt Romney would be much worse for the country. The extremism and destructive behavior of the Republicans since the election have reinforced this belief. But I think Obama is making huge mistakes. Examples include National Security Agency spying, continued illegal drone strikes and support for bloated military, homeland security and spy agency budgets. The administration’s failure to competently roll out health insurance exchanges must be added to that list of mistakes.

News columnist Doug Turner deserves our thanks for revealing another serious problem emanating from the White House, namely a secret fast-track trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations. This treaty would act like NAFTA and other trade agreements to siphon jobs offshore, further decimating American manufacturing.

In a democracy, all trade agreements should be subject to public scrutiny and debate. Lack of transparency and debate in the past has left us with trade agreements that favor wealthy corporate interests while selling out American workers.

Turner states that Rep. Brian Higgins is questioning the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty, which is good news. I hope he mounts the kind of vigorous opposition we see coming from Rep. Louise Slaughter. Meanwhile, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have been silent on this important issue.

I fear a future U.S. economy with an ever-expanding gap between the rich and poor and a gutted middle class. Already 47 million Americans live in poverty and an increasing number of Americans can find only low-paying jobs. We need courageous elected officials who will call for a complete re-examination of all trade agreements since the Clinton administration. We should be prepared to withdraw from many of these treaties in order to stem the tide of job loss to other countries and rebuild U.S. manufacturing.

Walter Simpson

Amherst