One state that gets it about "NAFTA-style" trade deals is Ohio. Factory after factory has closed, shipping jobs offshore, and leaving communities devastated. Now Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are coming for the rest of the jobs, and Ohio is fighting back. Will Hillary Clinton join the fight?
You have to click through and read this whole op-ed by Joe Logan, president of the Ohio Farmers Union, writing at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, No hurry on 'fast track' -- walking blindly into complex trade deals never a good idea,
Imagine you and your spouse going into your bank to settle on the purchase of a home. When you sit down with the loan officer, you are informed that the interest rate for the loan, the payoff period of the loan, the down payment for the loan, the terms of the loan and all the details about other aspects of purchasing the house have been negotiated in advance by the bank and the real estate agent. You can either sign on the line or walk away, but no changes are permitted.
Even more daunting, you know that the banks and realty companies have a long track record of negotiating such deals, which have performed marvelously well for those institutions, but have been horrible for the customers.
Although this scenario seems almost unfathomable for anyone who has ever ventured into the housing market, this is exactly the type of scenario President Barack Obama is requesting when he asks Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority -- also known as "fast track."
Spoiler alert! Logan ends with this:
I seriously doubt any of you would buy a home or sign a long-term deal with a blindfold on, and neither should Congress. It's time to say no to fast track and yes to smart trade that is truly in our national interest.
Ohio Politicians Get It (Except a few)
Ohio has suffered more than many states from the trade deals moving factories and jobs out of the country. So Ohio politics are just full of Fast Track and TPP. A smattering of recent articles demonstrates this:
- WKBN: Trans-Pacific Partnership: Union members gather to voice opposition
- Dayton Daily News: Ohio reps cast skeptical eye on proposed trade agreement
- Rep. Tim Ryan hopes President Obama sees trade agreement consequences during Cleveland visit
- Ohio Progressives Urge Defeat Of Trans-Pacific Partnership
- PACKED HOUSES IN TOLEDO, WARREN PUSH BACK ON “FAST TRACK” OF TPP
- COLUMBUS, OHIO, STANDS UP AGAINST ‘FAST TRACK’
- Ohio Democrats in Congress warn against fast approval of new trade agreement
Here is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, one of the leaders in the fight against fast track, speaking on the senate floor, from the February post, "The Senate Blockbuster Showdown On Trade The Media Missed":
Ohio's Senate Race Gets It
In Ohio's 2016 Senate race former Governor Ted Strickland is using the trade issue to pound his opponent, former U.S. Trade Ambassador and current Senator Rob Portman. Strickland's website offers a "Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership" petition. Strikland says, "In the past 20 years, NAFTA has devastated Ohio’s economy with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. The TPP will only do more harm. We can’t let greedy foreign companies and special interests continue to rob the future of Ohio’s working families."
An April 6 poll has Strickland up 9 points over Portman in that Senate race. This might be why: "WKSU - Ohio's Sen. Portman pushes fast-track trade, which may be a campaign issue, NAFTA and other trade deals have proven controversial in Ohio."
Will Candidate Hillary Clinton Get It?
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton could take the progressive mantle from Senator Elizabeth Warren and be a leader in the fight against Fast Tracking TPP.
From last week's "As Fast Track/TPP Becomes New Third Rail, Where Is Hillary Clinton?":
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — and the rigged “Fast Track” process designed to pass it before the public has a chance to react — has become a new “third rail” for progressives and the activist Democratic “base.” (This is also true on the right, by the way.)
This game-rigging is creating a race to the bottom for people and the planet. The thing is: more and more people are seeing it. And more and more people are asking Hillary Clinton to lead the fight against it.
Mrs. Clinton, it's time to step up, take a stand and lead the fight against Fast Track and the TPP. Get it?