Trade Show, Part Deux: Imaginary Benefits vs. Real Costs

In which we learn that there are some parts of the game hard to un-rig and the price of free trade.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who may or may not be running for president, was on with Thom Hartmann for their usual Friday chat. Right at the moment, Sanders is standing atop the battlements against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the secretive intercontinental job-suck for which the skids are being greased in the Congress even as we speak. The most remarkable thing to me about this oncoming car-bomb to the economy is the fact that the Congress is being asked to give the president fast-track authority on a massive agreement that only members of Congress can read, but that none of them can discuss. Sanders told Hartmann that he could read the proposed agreement, but he had to go into a secret room to do so. This, he rightly argues, is a completely crazy way to make public policy.

The reason they put a gag rule on the delegates of the Constitutional Convention was because they didn’t want the country to fall apart, and because they didn’t want the convention to last 300 years and come to no real conclusion even by then. And even then, there was a strong strain of opposition to secret agreements deep in the American political soul. To name only one person who had no use for what came out of secret conventions, Mercy Otis Warren, one of my favorite American polemicists, went fairly well up the wall.

…(read more).

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