The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or “TPP,” may sound like a boring subject to some Americans, but the details are alarming. Leaked documents show that the agreement would allow multinationals to sue any country whose laws they claim stand in the way of profits. These companies’ challenges to environmental regulations, worker safety laws, and other protections, would be hashed out in private tribunals that operate outside of established legal systems. Obama has staunchly defended the secret agreement and is pushing for fast-track approval, alienating many in his own party. Which makes me wonder: WTF?
Paul Krugman’s column from a couple weeks ago explains why concerns about threats to national, state, or local laws are not unfounded. Canada’s finance minister is challenging the Volcker Rule under NAFTA. Jim Hightower also has more on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process, and how it’s being used by Phillip Morris to challenge anti-smoking laws in Australia and Uruguay.
Gigantic corporations already have more than enough power. Obama shouldn’t be pushing to give them even more, or belittling those who argue otherwise.