The current trade regime is not just a matter of the U.S. exporting manufacturing jobs to China and importing cheaper consumer goods. We are also dramatically increasing the volume of pollution associated with our consumption, so much that a significant part of U.S. pollution is now generated in China in the production of goods for U.S. consumers.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, negotiations are in their final phase and the policy debate is in full swing. Unfortunately, it's shaping up as a debate about trees, not forests; it ignores the central goal of the TPP: to renew the Asia-Pacific trading system and firm up America's role in it.
The legitimate force that drives trade agreements is companies' need for predictability and stability in order to invest beyond the borders of their home country. Everyone can support that. But where trade agreements go wrong is in secret negotiations, with virtually zero democratic input or accountability
The ongoing trade deficit has transferred trillions of dollars out of our economy. It has cost us millions of jobs, tens of thousands of factories and entire industries. As it continues, it is costing us our ability to make a living as a country -- except for our financial sector. This has made a very few people unimaginably wealthy, but it has made the rest of us, and the country, poorer.
What does the sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc mean for the Eurozone? Will Russia's financial distress spill over to its neighbors? How those questions are answered will affect some of the world's richest countries -- the likes of France, Germany, and Italy. Usually ignored, it will also affect some of the poorest.
Hundreds of members of Congress (from both parties!) are joining economists left and right to include an enforceable provision on currency manipulation in the TPP, but there are still some who argue that this rule isn't needed. That's why we put together this handy list of the top 10 facts you need to know about currency and the TPP. (Hint: It's about middle-class jobs).
Either Obama will be the president whose initiatives to address income inequality and wage stagnation helped rebuild America's middle class, or he will prioritize a trade agenda that will offshore more good-paying jobs, destroy what is left of the American manufacturing sector, increase income inequality and speed the demise of America's middle class.