We don't yet know what is in the TPP, because it is still secret and will remain so until shortly before the fast-track process requires Congress to vote. The president says to trust him, telling us that it will be great and "progressive" and create lots of jobs and expand the economy. Great. But the history on our trade deals -- especially those passed using fast track -- has been very bad. NAFTA was sold as creating a lot of jobs and growing the economy, but NAFTA destroyed jobs and expanded the trade deficit. China's entry into the World Trade Organization was sold as creating a lot of jobs and growing the economy, but it turned out to be absolutely devastating for America's working people, middle class and entire manufacturing ecosystem, and the trade deficit with China is now enormous. As a result of these agreements, entire regions of the country look like wastelands. Seriously, go look at Detroit.
When the political establishment wants to pass major trade agreements, we see respectable Washington types making pronouncements bearing so little relationship to reality that they would cause Sarah Palin to cringe. The Washington Post gave us one such gem last week when it took issue with those saying currency rules should be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Stop the foolishness and talk to us like grownups. There will be no "trade war" if we pursue a currency chapter in the TPP. There will be a lot of arguing and negotiating about what technically constitutes currency manipulation to gain an edge in trade. It could blow up the deal, and Secretary Lew, Rep. Ryan, and others should explain to us and to members of Congress why that's a more costly outcome to American workers and businesses than continuing to live with labor demand-draining trade deficits. If they can do so, then let's have a TPP. If they can neither make a convincing case based on facts, not war-mongering and fear tactics, nor can they offer a convincing alternative for legislative actions outside of the TPP against currency manipulation, then they must either negotiate a currency chapter or accept defeat.