Memo to Obama: Corporate elites are not "America"

President Obama is miffed that nearly all of his fellow Democrats in the US House recently refused to follow him over the cliff of yet another global trade deal. But, ironically, it was the core of his own argument that led Democrats to hand such an embarrassing (and deserved) defeat to him.

President Obama is miffed that nearly all of his fellow Democrats in the US House recently refused to follow him over the cliff of yet another global trade deal. But, ironically, it was the core of his own argument that led Democrats to hand such an embarrassing (and deserved) defeat to him.

“Simply put,” Obama pleaded, “America has to write the rules of the 21st century economy in a way that benefits American workers.”

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Nice sentiment – but “simply put” – the claim that his Trans-Pacific Partnership scheme would benefit American workers is a scam. Democratic lawmakers knew that “America” had not written the 1,000-pages of rules the president was pushing. In the secret, closed-door negotiating sessions, the tiny fraction of “Americans” allowed inside were such corporate powers as AT&T, GE, the Koch brothers, and Walmart.

Workers themselves were not at the table, nor were consumers, small business, environmentalists, family farmers, and all other real people who know from experience that the old saying is true: If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

Sure enough, the “rules of the 21st century economy” that Obama’s TPP deal would impose on us is a raw deal, rigged against people for the benefit of global corporate powers. For example, the rules would raise our medicine prices, offshore more of our jobs, undermine our food-safety and environmental protections, and even allow multinational corporations to usurp our people’s sovereignty by suing the US government in special corporate tribunals over laws and rules they don’t like.

Obama is mad at House Democrats, but people back home are furious at him for trying to sell us out. As minority leader Nancy Pelosi put it, when members went back to their districts, “we put our hand on a very hot stove” of public opposition.

“In Defeat, a Divide for Obama and His Party,” The New York Times, June 13, 2015.

“A Party In Revolt,” The New York Times, June 13, 2015.

“Obama Makes New Plea to Dissenting House Democrats on Trade Bill,” www.bloomberg.com.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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