Date: 5 December 2015
Author: Alex Pietrowski, Staff
Debate around the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continues to mount. The recently-released 6,000 page agreement, encompassing 18,000 categories of goods and services and a region that accounts for 40 percent of the global economy, hasn’t been ratified by the U.S. Congress or Senate. Yet, the U.S. President has made his support clear with statements such as, “We are both soon to be signatories to the TPP agreement,” a comment Obama made on Nov. 19, 2015, after his bilateral meeting with new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Barack Obama’s confidence stems partially from the Trade Promotion Authority fast-tracking bill, which passed the U.S. Senate in May 2015, with a vote of 65-33. What has led to such strong support of the agreement?
Part is the work of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who is one of the biggest supporters of the TPP on Capitol Hill. He’s been very effective in selling U.S. Senators on the pretense that the TPP will economically benefit the U.S., although many believe that the benefits really fall to U.S. corporations and not the country’s citizens.
“Just to make sure corporations extract every pound of flesh, any public law interpreted by corporations as impeding projected profit, even a law designed to protect the environment or consumers, will be subject to challenge in an entity called the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) section. The ISDS, bolstered and expanded under the TPP, will see corporations paid massive sums in compensation from offending governments for impeding their “right” to further swell their bank accounts. Corporate profit effectively will replace the common good.” ~ Chris Hedges, Truthdig (source)
Aside from the debate over what the TPP will actually accomplish, corporate payoffs to U.S. Senators played an important role in the fast-track bill, as they do with most U.S. political matters. Looking at the money trail, it once again becomes clear that U.S. corporations are running the U.S. government, with little regard to the people’s interests. Here’s what the corporate cash spigot looks like:
Using data from the Federal Election Commission, this chart shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate:
- Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes.
- The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters.
- The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors.
- Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray of Washington received $52,200 between the 2 of them
- Michael Bennet of Colorado received $57,700
- These three Democrats were hold-outs on the bill who eventually caved and voted for the fast-track.
- Rob Portman of Ohio received $119,700 – $70,600 from Goldman Sachs, $15,700 from Pfizer, $12,900 from Procter & Gamble
- Johnny Isakson of Georgia received $102,500
- Roy Blunt of Missouri received $77,900 – $13,500 from Monsanto
- Tim Scott of South Carolina received $67,500
- Richard Burr of North Carolina received $60,000
- John McCain of Arizona received $51,700
- Chuck Grassley of Iowa received $35,000
Note: The amounts above are corporate donations to the campaigns of US Senators between January and March of 2015, from corporations affiliated with the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP. Research compiled by Taylor Channing. Source
The fast-track bill gave Obama the authority to speed the TPP through Congress, without having its contents available for debate or amendments. Critics argue that the TPP will “favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech online.” (Source)
“How can we expect politicians who routinely receive campaign money, lucrative job offers, and lavish gifts from special interests to make impartial decisions that directly affect those same special interests? As long as this kind of transparently corrupt behavior remains legal, we won’t have a government that truly represents the people.” ~ Mansur Gidfar, spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.Us (Source)
The TPP is being rammed down our throats by paid off politicians, and our sovereignty is being further destroyed in favor of a new kind of global fascism. Is this the reason why we need government in our lives?