“Free trade” deals have traded away the jobs and rights of American workers for decades. The newest one being cooked up by politicians of both parties is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which some labor advocates are calling the “NAFTA Of The Pacific.”
Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) office is responsible for negotiating this new trade deal. Although powerful corporations have gotten to weigh in on it for months, public interest groups are finally getting a chance to air their grievances to negotiators. A very, very small chance.
Techdirt reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation — a leading Internet freedom group — will get just eight minutes to present its view on the agreement to USTR negotiators during a “Direct Stakeholder Engagement” meeting in Virginia next month. This is particularly disturbing in light of the revelation that TPP may include new intellectual property powers that may curb Internet rights.
That’s the role that public interest groups get when money dictates our politics. From trade, to health care, to consumer safety — Americans will always take a back seat to Big Money unless we reform the way our political system works.