There's a big political fight happening in Washington, but for once it does not break down easily along partisan lines. There are free-traders among both the Democrats and the Republicans, and opposition exists on both sides. But the main skirmish in this fight is currently happening between President Obama and some of his fellow Democrats.
Trade promotion authority that the White House needs for both the TPP and the TTIP is now hanging by a thread. A well-placed boot by Hillary Clinton would be the coup de grace. It would show leadership and political nerve. Some Wall Street supporters might get off her bandwagon -- and good riddance. She has plenty to spare.
President Obama recently downplayed the impact of unfair trade on the U.S. workforce, arguing that many manufacturing jobs are low-paying. But I disagree. This nation's manufacturing base provides a pathway to prosperity for many Americans -- and this administration cannot shut the door on their future.
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.