Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why the Democratic Party won't change

This is a worthwhile op-ed by Louisiana AFL-CIO President Louis Reine railing against the soon to be ratified Trans Pacific Partnership.
Labeling the TPP a "trade deal" narrows the debate to a false "pro" versus "anti" trade frame. It allows supporters of corporate giveaways that masquerade as trade policies to declare inaccurately that unions on principle, regardless of what the provisions are, are opposed to trade. And it ignores the reality that corporate-driven trade has been used to try to permanently enshrine a whole host of harmful economic policies, virtually all of them "trickle down" — not just in the United States, but around the world.

But we have learned from decades of stalled wages that make it hard to do simple things like send kids to college or enjoy a family vacation: trickle down trade doesn't work any better than any other trickle down policy. The game is rigged. It enriches corporate CEOs and leaves hard-working families with crumbs, often struggling to pay for basic necessities.

That's why millions of Americans from all sides of the political spectrum oppose the TPP and are working hard to stop it in its tracks. Our focus this election year is rewriting the rules of our economy so that working families can live a decent life. Our economy can create broadly shared prosperity and rising wages, or it can continue to create spectacular wealth for the few at the top who write the rules to benefit themselves. The TPP is one more set of rules that the CEOs and Wall Street wrote to benefit themselves. If it becomes law, it will be an obstacle to a better, fairer economy for America and for the world.
Unfortunately, TPP is a fait-accompli.  The President is enthusiastic about it. Despite her equivocations during the heat of a campaign, the next President is also clearly supportive. It's easy to say the Democratic Party needs to change its neoliberal "free trade" outlook if it wants to continue to rely on the support of the people they habitually betray through trade policy.  But that's not true.  Not as long as AFL-CIO continues to "fall in line" behind Democratic candidates no matter what they do. Politics is mostly inertia. And we really can just go on like this forever as long as the important people continue making each other feel important.

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