Trade

Halloween’s Over but TPP Scare Tactics Aren’t

If every time you read an article about the Trans-Pacific Partnership these days, you begin to hum the sweet strains of the Eagles’ "Desperado," you’re not wrong.

Unable to convince voters that "trade deals" that make it easier to offshore jobs, drive down wages, and weaken consumer and environmental protections are good for them, advocates are trying to frighten members of Congress into betraying their constituents and voting for the TPP in the lame-duck session.

Even though Halloween is over, the scare tactics are everywhere.

One tactic is to claim that failure to pass the TPP will make Americans less safe. The argument is not supported by any evidence whatsoever. In fact, the U.S. security apparatus in the Pacific, including bases in Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia, will remain in place with or without the TPP.

To the contrary, as retired Brigadier General John Adams has made clear, implementing the TPP could make the United States less safe, by weakening our economy—and our industrial base, in particular. In 2013, the Pentagon identified offshoring as a threat to national security, in part because it could compromise "the supply chain for key weapons systems components."

The New America senior fellow and former executive editor of Global Business, Barry Lynn, has described how supply chain concentration—the kind the TPP would promote—threatens dangerous economic collapse when a country that controls vital components decides to put the squeeze on the United States. So much for the national security scare tactic.

Another tactic TPP supporters are using is to scare members of Congress into believing that the United States must pass the TPP or lose ground to China. This myth is easier to spin given the massive offshoring of U.S. jobs to China that has happened in the past 15 years. But it’s 100% false.

The myth falls apart once one looks behind the curtain. This myth ignores the very grave dangers of the TPP to U.S. jobs, wages and democracy. It also pretends that somehow the TPP gives the United States a leg up in competing against China—but TPP does the opposite. Its weak rules of origin will allow China to send goods to the United States duty-free as components of Japanese, Malaysian or Vietnamese products. The TPP also allows its 12 members (and China) to continue to manipulate their currency, killing U.S. jobs with no repercussions, and it utterly fails to raise labor and environmental standards. In sum, no matter what China does, U.S. working families are better off without the TPP.

Call your member of Congress and tell her or him not to fall for scare tactics. Vote to support working families. Vote NO on TPP.

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