White House Paints Sen. Warren As Cuckoo Bananas Over TPP
Credit: Public Citizen
May 7, 2015

I'm not a trade expert. But the people I know who are say Warren's right:

So far in her battle against President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has raised the specter of shady international courts invalidating U.S. laws and a cabal of business interests writing trade agreements in secret, smoky rooms.

Now she has a new complaint: If Congress gives Obama what he wants on fast-track trade authority, says Warren (D-Mass.), some future Republican president could use that power to gut the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and let Wall Street run wild once again.

 Supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the White House, Congress and the business community are growing increasingly alarmed at the escalating rhetoric. Warren’s arguments, these people say, are increasingly wide of the mark and easily rebutted. But administration officials are at odds over how aggressively to take her on, knowing that a sustained attack would only arouse her supporters in the progressive and labor movements.

Obama has already called Warren “wrong” on trade. But in private, administration officials fume in much more colorful terms over Warren’s attacks, calling them “baseless” and “desperate,” with “no bearing or relation to anything we are doing.” They also suggest the Massachusetts senator knows going after trade deals will only further energize the “Draft Warren” movement that desperately wants her to run for president.

But TPP does affect Dodd-Frank -- partners can sue local governments if they interfere with "expected profits." The Obama administration's entire rationale seems to be, well, no foreign company has yet successfully overridden American regulations, so what's the biggie?

Here's why: If the terms exist, they will eventually be used.

I'll put that reassurance right up there with "the PATRIOT Act will never be used against anyone who isn't a terrorist." Or that the RICO Act would never be used for anyone who isn't part of organized crime.

Warren is absolutely right. (And by the way, there's another treaty coming up on investment rules. The TPP may even be a Trojan horse: If Obama gets fast track authority, it lasts six years and he can easily push through the investment agreement -- and from what I hear, it really does gut protections.)

Which yet again, would explain why Obama got all that early money from Wall Street when he ran in 2008. (Hint: not because of his starry-eyed idealism.)

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