Saturday, March 28, 2015

Five Links 3: Trans-Pacific Partnership edition

Jamelle Bouie of Slate suggests the Senate Minority Leader spot that Harry Reid is vacating is a spot for a moderate, because this position represents all Democrats, not just the liberal wing… therefore Elizabeth Warren isn’t the right person for the job. If she became Senate Minority Leader she’d be pulled to the right and no longer be a firebrand for the left.

Ted Cruz, and increasing my vocabulary:
Douthat games out a scenario in which Ted Cruz, currentlythe only Republican who has announced his candidacy for President, becomes theRepublican nominee. Essentially, Cruz should hope for a crowd of centrists whacking one another and Rand Paul to be off in left field doing his own thing. Cruz then would need to find a few issues that separates him from the field and prove that he’s the only “true believer”… for example his position on Immigration (and potentially Common Core and the ACA). Essentially, Cruz could use a few dog whistle issues to paint the rest of the field as Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) in Reagan clothing.
Douthat believes Cruz’s main liability is his lack of likability… more specifically he noted multiple people have described Cruz as “Oleaginous.” A quick definition for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term (myself included), “1. Covered with oil 2. Distastefully complimentary.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership:
This is an issue I’ve felt a little in the dark about, so I asked around and these were the places friends pointed me to: the Whitehouse, Krugman, Summers, and Wikileaks.
What is TPP? A trade deal being negotiated between the US and 14 or so Pacific nations, perhaps a little more NAFTA-ish than most people would like. It appears to be the economic portion of Obama’s “pivot to Asia.”
So, what are people saying?

The Good:
It’ll hold trading partners accountable regarding labor and environmental standards in a way NAFTA didn’t, thus TPP is “the mostprogressive trade deal in history.”
Asian countries are creating all kinds of trade pacts that are economically integrating the Pacific, if we don’t get on board, we get left behind.
It may add 0.5% to the national income of the nations involved.
It will revive the American manufacturing sector by opening up new markets for our goods.

The Bad:
A 0.5% increase in national income may be optimistic.
Most of the protections that benefit the USA will mainly help Hollywood and big Phrama—it’s about patents and copyrights, not labor, jobs, and the environment.
I’ve heard from friends over in Europe that the EU is crying foul on this agreement—though I do not know the specifics.

The Ugly:
The deal is being hammered out in a sort of secretive way.

So, a few thoughts:
If this is a race to the bottom, that’s no good, I hope the “most progressive trade deal in history,” statements are more than just rhetoric.
The idea that America can be cut out of regional markets is a relatively new one for a whole generation of Americans, who assume globalization is the norm and that the USA (or at least American Corporations) is its main driver. We’re living in a more multi-polar world economically and we will act as such.
My knee-jerk inclination is to separate “American Manufacturing” from Big Phrama and Hollywood, but truth be told entertainment and drugs are staple American exports.

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