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Trump is a Catastrophe, But So was the TPP


Trump is a Catastrophe, But So was the TPP

Isabel Marlens

Since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I’ve found myself talking for the first time with a lot of my 20-something friends about trade agreements.

My friends didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Most are from “liberal” parts of the US. They went to good schools for 12 years, worked hard, got good grades. Many went on to top colleges and universities, places like Stanford, Yale, NYU, UCLA.

And yet most of them know almost nothing about one of the most important issues facing the world today.


And then there's this~


An excellent article - it should be required reading for all members of the House and Senate, and in all high school civics classes (assuming civics - or something like it - is still taught in our miserable public schools).
My only complaint is the two spelling errors: both "multinational" and "transnational" should be replaced by "Multi-NaZional" before one of our few remaining decent public servants reads it into the Congressional Record.


A major reason so many of us opposed Krooked Hilliary in the primary was her initial support for the TPP, and our strong suspicion that her tepid opposition later in the campaign was a sham. Unfortunately Tweetle-Dumb's opposition to the TPP (in name if not in substance) was also a sham, but it was a major factor in getting him elected.


These free trade agreements seem to be a mixture of good and bad. In the case of the TPP the bad outweighed the good, particularly the Investor State Settlement Part. Free trade agreements in the US tend to work out well for highly skilled workers but poorly for unskilled or semi-skilled workers. That is why they are popular in metro areas but not in areas with a lot of factories. The US pulling out of the TPP would seem to be a benefit for China. It may allow China to dominate the Southeast Asian market which is the largest in the world. While these trade agreements tend to cost factory jobs by far biggest loss of factory jobs is due to automation. Over the last couple of decades factory production has almost doubled while using only a third of as many factory workers. In words most of the loss of jobs is due to improved efficiency. Of course a demagogue like Trump is going to blame it solely on free trade agreements and particularly on Mexico and China to stir of xenophobia and neglect completely the much more important role of automation. I don't think Trump understand free trade agreements and even academics who study free trade agreements have a hard time figuring out the consequences of these agreements.


I hear this a lot but most of the sources that I can find appear to come from right-wing, pro-free trade organizations like the CATO Institute or their media. Do you have any relatively unbiased sources for this statement?

Here is one article that appears to refute your statement at least with regards to the impact of free-trade with China:


I was just going to post that. Thanks


"Since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I’ve found myself talking for the first time with a lot of my 20-something friends about trade agreements. My friends didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Most are from “liberal” parts of the US. They went to good schools for 12 years, worked hard, got good grades. Many went on to top colleges and universities, places like Stanford, Yale, NYU, UCLA. And yet most of them know almost nothing about one of the most important issues facing the world today."

It is a fallacy to assume that just because a person lives in a liberal area, gets good grades, and goes to top universities that they will necessarily understand global economics better than the average person or be less biased in their support of political figures or economic policies. It is possible that the author's friends are biased in favor of the TPP because of their likely relatively privileged backgrounds. In addition, emotions are very powerful forces and many people are likely feeling highly emotional since the election and are probably acting and thinking irrationally. The fact that some people think, or is it the media telling everyone to think, that Obama could do not wrong compared to Trump is evidence of this irrationality.


A fallacy indeed ! During the 90s I was a professor at a flagship top five research University where my survival was dependent on promoting group think that was driven by corporations funding research and other university programs. I lasted two years only because the job market was tight at the time and it took that long to land a decent job. My former colleagues tell me that university group think and corporate pressure continue to worsen, so academia is one of the last places to find objective information on "trade deals".

During the past six years I have read hundred of articles addressing TPP and other regulatory capture schemes disguised as "trade deals", and contributed hundreds of CD posts on the subject. While there have been many articles that came close to being as succinct and complete as this one, Marlens wins the blue ribbon.

The only issue not addressed in this article is the certainty that "trade deals" will enable destruction of internet neutrality. Obama bowed to pressure to preserve net neutrality only when he was confident that TPP and the other "trade deals" would easily sweep away net neutrality and please his Party's corporate paymasters.

Trump campaigned against TPP and NAFTA only after 1) he witnessed how much support Sanders' was getting opposing TPP., and 2) realizing that if he won and killed TPP that his Party would be able to enact regulatory capture outside of any "trade deals", which is already underway since January 21. Trump and the GOP will not put any effort into any populist trade deals like Sanders would have.


Media coverage of TPP and other "trade deals" that I have read and listened to (rarely watch TV) during the past six years has in nearly all cases characterized "deal" supporters as pro-trade and those questioning or opposing as "anti-trade", failing to mention that 24 chapters of TPP enable regulatory capture while only 6 chapters address the "trade" they allege we are opposing.

Those of us opposing "trade deals" have never been anti-trade. We ARE opposed to and will continue to be opposed to unfair trade and regulations, consistent with Sanders' campaign message.

Until the media stops dumbing down coverage of these issues, the author's' associates mentioned in the article will continue to be mislead.


You nailed it. The TPP's effect on the US economy was miniscule compared to the effort spent to pass it and at the cost of our national sovereignty. From the US Trade Commission site:

The Commission used a dynamic computable general equilibrium model to determine the impact of TPP relative to a baseline projection that does not include TPP. The model estimated that TPP would have positive effects, albeit small as a percentage of the overall size of the U.S. economy. By year 15 (2032), U.S. annual real income would be $57.3 billion (0.23 percent) higher than the baseline projections, real GDP would be $42.7 billion (0.15 percent) higher, and employment would be 0.07 percent higher (128,000 full-time equivalents).

I'm pretty confident that seeing our nation sold to a bunch of transnational corporations would cause the founders to roll over in their graves. Fair trade, not free trade (which doesn't exist in the first place).


If you are who you say you are consider this just one incident in Trump's life. Do you remember the jogger that was murdered some years ago in Central Park (NYC)? Several young black guys were arrested for the murder and while they were in custody and the city was trying to make a case Trump took out a full page ad in NYT calling for their execution. Mind you, they had not even been tried in court yet. Information came to light that these guys were not the culprits, and they were exonerated. Trump never apologized or retracted his statements and continued to maintain that they should be executed regardless.

He's such a swell guy. Yeah, Obama was a major disappointment, unless of course you consider that he proved unequivocally that "race" really is no barrier to becoming the captain of the USS Status Quo.


This is only an anecdote, but the new Tesla factory near Reno only employees about 1000 people. More will get hired, but the state incentivized the manufacturing plant with over a billion worth of tax incentives. In the 1950s, a huge plant like that likely would have employed a town's worth of people. With automation, people aren't needed for assembly, but just to keep the machines running. That's why the plant was controversial, the direct number of jobs seemed small relative to what the public was investing.


" . . . but so was the TPP."

And so, in my view, is the absence of an organized party, able to put forth candidates electable to a majority of the seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state legislatures, and to the Office of the President, that will, unlike the Democratic Party over -- at least -- the last 48 years -- support peace abroad and health, food, jobs, and justice at home.


Austomation might be efficient, but it does not incur the human cost. I once heard an elitist say that no one needs to work at a factory unless he or she is an engineer. Most people are not engineers. This person is an elitist who does not care about people.


I agree about the priveledged backgrounds: An elitist professor or journalist would have no clue about a union workers outsourced job.


The scariest thing is the financial services agreements that could decimate unions, social security, and retirement systems. Be careful what you wish for. Also , what's wrong with doing business locally? That's where we need to expand as community is the source of strength is any entity.


I second that.


Quite so. And to the tiny extent that news media mentioned any controversy at all, it was usually framed (usually in one sentence) as a question over the effect on American "jobs"; never really bothering to examine that topic.
Whether from the commercial networks or NPR, I never once heard any discussion about the dreadful ISDS or other aspects of corporate regulatory capture that you note. Not once. Yet nonetheless, lots of people have discovered some of the real implications of these deals.


I, like jo6pac was just going to post this-
It (TISA) is being kept so secret- I hope the readers here take the time to read this article....
Hell, I hope Isabel Marlens reads it also...