TPP: Fast Track to Oligarchy

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.


  • Susan Montgomery

    Maybe he’s just not (nor has he ever been) the guy you thought he was?

    • Benjamin Schwab

      You mean the Senator who voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and who, in his first term as president, told Wall Street executives that he wants to be their best friend is beholden to corporate interests??? Who would have thunk he would have been the person he has claiming to be all along. Don’t worry though, the next Democrat elected president is sure to be what we imagine her to be. No mater who we are.

      • Susan Montgomery

        I wish I could laugh at that. Hillary has already, for all intents and purposes, taken off that mask and shown herself to be a moderate NeoCon and yet the left still thinks she’s “one of them” because, as with Obama, the right still call her a commie – so if you have any doubts about the state of American democracy in the 21st century, you’re just not paying any attention.

  • Taco43

    “The essence of all slavery consists in taking the product of another’s labor by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership of the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.” –Leo Tolstoy

    • Susan Montgomery

      Unfortunately, like any other human institution, capitalism tends to run amuck when it is not restrained, and democracy provides inadequate means of keeping it in order. There is never any surety that democracy will throw up leaders competent to discern the true dangers of capitalism and able to remedy them in a prudent and rational manner. Thus we have vacillated between letting it run wild and trying to ruin it. Both courses are hazardous and ineffective, and it is hard to say which is more so. –H.L. Mencken

  • Alan Barta

    For all of Obama’s successes, which could still be reversed by Republicans and Teabaggers, I wonder about his legacy. When he first ran for office, he touted nationwide conversion to alternative fuels like biodiesel, but that never happened. The biggest fights were never engaged or entertained. Health care? It’s ironic, because ubiquitous but unnecessary petroleum causes cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and wars, all of which overburden our medical infrastructure, while pharma (oil-based drugs and plastics) profits.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.