The most salient "add-on" feature of the TPP is its investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, which gives investors private rights of action against governments outside the court system. The problem is not so much that it violates rule of law and sovereignty, but that it shrinks the actual and potential role of the public.
Fast track is The Money directing Congress to go utterly against what vast majorities of people actively say, what movements of people are fighting for. Is this how business will be done in the 21st century? Maybe, but maybe not. We the People came close to winning this time. We will come closer and closer, then we will start winning again.
Over the last 40 years, the largest corporations in this country have closed thousands of factories in the United States and outsourced millions of American jobs to low-wage countries overseas. That is why we need a new trade policy and why I am opposed to the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership now before Congress.
There are many serious issues raised by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the one that may have the greatest long-term impact is its provisions on drug patents. The explicit purpose is to make patent protection stronger and longer. While these provisions are likely to lead to higher drug prices in the United States, they will have their greatest impact in the developing world. In most developing countries, drugs are far cheaper than in the United States. This is especially the case in India. The country has a world-class generic industry that produces high-quality drugs that typically sell for a small fraction of the price in the United States. The U.S. drug industry desperately wants to eliminate this sort of price gap, which can exceed a ratio of one hundred to one. This should have everyone very worried.
Obama and Congressional Republicans have few areas of agreement. Opponents of their shared trade agenda seek to make that list shorter. Anti-trade advocates should question whether they are either blinded by an idealized partisanship that can only lead to paralysis, or captured by special interests at odds with the general welfare.