TPP Trades our Freedom for Corporate Control
Our iconic, coherent U.S. Constitution was written on four sheets of parchment, listing our obligations and responsibilities for governance. Counting the Preamble and all 27 Amendments, our Constitution comes to 20 typed pages. The First Amendment alone covers a multitude of freedoms: religion, press, assembly, speech, and the right to petition the government. This amendment is all of 45 words. In contrast, our Affordable Health Care bill has 2,032 pages.
The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) beats all with 6,000 pages. The TPP is less a trade agreement than a handover of every aspect of our civic life to the control of various U.S. trading partners, foreign corporations, and multinational U.S. businesses.
This agreement can give corporations the ability to shred our Constitution at will. This agreement would violate protections offered to citizens by important articles of the Constitution. For example, Article III, which established the judicial branch of the U.S. government, assigns its powers and established the right of trial by jury. The TPP puts judicial decisions in the hands of an international panel of arbitrators whose decisions could not be challenged in U.S. courts.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) can also be dismantled. Private medical corporations control the ACA. But the TPP would make even this privatized healthcare act non-functional. One of the TPP’s goals is to extend the patents on pharmaceuticals, to eliminate the less costly generic versions of drugs. We are already seeing runaway drug prices without the TPP. For instance, the hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, manufactured by Gilead Science Inc., costs $1,000 for one pill.
Then there is the matter of copyrights, which can be for life plus 70 years. This simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from users to large, rights-holding corporations. It will make it more difficult for libraries and archives, for journalists, and for ordinary users seeking to make use of works from long-dead authors.
Our net neutrality agreements could be challenged.
The origin of food imports will no longer be listed. Our laws protecting us from outdated foods, toxic chemicals, and destructive environmental policies can be bypassed by unelected/unselected foreign arbitrators.
This agreement is too lengthy to cover all the egregious pitfalls. Our constitution and sovereignty are both in jeopardy. On February 4, President Obama and ministers from 11 other nations signed the Trans Pacific Partnership; but it isn’t law yet because Congress must ratify this monstrous corporate giveaway. The best we can do is to call our representatives in Congress and tell them to oppose it. Call toll free 877-762-8762 and ask separately for Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Call Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi or Jackie Speier. Follow up by calling all three legislators’ home offices, to make a bigger impact.
— Denise D’Anne