There is a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.” Now, if Roosevelt were alive today he would certainly not envy corporations that have had an incredibly easy life since Republicans allowed them to control of America and take inordinately huge profits and benefits without exerting any effort, or bearing any costs. Oh it is true there are costs involved in guaranteeing that already highly-profitable corporations continue making obscene profits without putting forth much effort, but with pro-corporate Republicans running the government for the past 14 years the costs have been borne by the poor, the vanishing middle class, and the elderly; it is just the way things are in corporate-controlled America.
Unfortunately, if President Obama, some Senate Democrats, and all Republicans have their way, the American people will continue paying to ensure that corporations have easy lives and continue getting a free ride as a result of the corporate-written Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is the corporate trade agreement the cabal running America lusts to see President Obama fast-track to fruition and it is a lust he appears incredibly eager to satisfy. It is likely that after nearly six years of being hated by Republicans and corporate America, he does long to please more than just his liberal base and cement his legacy as a friend to all; including corporate America.
It is bad enough that the TTP will certainly undermine Americans’ jobs, environmental and financial regulations, and give corporations an easier means of hiding their obscene profits offshore to avoid paying taxes, but it is worse that Republicans and some Democrats in the Senate want the elderly to pay for the consequences of the bad trade deal. To soften the damage to workers who will lose their jobs to the trade deal, a couple of Senate Democrats fought tooth-and-nail to include an incredibly petty provision, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, to garner enough votes to give the President authority to fast-track the TTP and cement his legacy as a pro-trade, or is it pro-corporate, Democratic President.
The TAA is the program that provides retraining services to the workers who will lose their jobs after the TTP is finalized, and assist them to buy health insurance with tax credits out of their pathetic unemployment benefits when they are poverty-stricken. Since corporations cannot be bothered, or expected, to pay for retraining American workers who lost their jobs to the trade deal, Senate Republicans and some Democrats decided that the least the elderly can do is pay for the TAA program out of cuts to their Medicare insurance benefits. For dog’s sake this is America and no red-blooded corporate puppet would think to ask, or expect, the corporations that wrote and will profit from the trade deal to pay for the TAA program; it would be an abomination and so unfair. It just is not the way America under corporate ownership operates and nearly every politician in Washington knows it and votes accordingly.
However, although the Senate believes the elderly should relieve corporations of any burden for funding TAA training and tax credits for American workers displaced by the corporate trade deal, 61 House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stating that although the TAA is an essential part of even a devastatingly bad corporate trade agreement, it is patently unfair to pay for it with “cuts to critical social programs like Medicare.” The 61 House Democrats led by Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva are demanding a new funding mechanism for the cost of TAA for displaced workers; but they did not call for a corporate tax hike to cover the cost. Why? Because this is America and corporations get a free ride which is precisely why Washington politicians let corporations write the trade agreement in secret.
There is some opinion that House Democrats may use the TAA funding issue to thwart the TPP altogether, either by watching House Republicans refuse to fund anything to help American workers and effectively kill a vote on TPP. It is possible that House Democrats will not vote for TPP unless 90 House Republicans first vote to fund TAA and Nancy Pelosi is concerned enough that she is negotiating with GOP leaders to find a new way to pay for TAA and replace the Medicare cuts since keeping them in place could end up killing it, and TPP altogether.
The only given in this whole sordid TPP and TAA affair is that no-one in Washington will demand that the only beneficiaries of the trade agreement, the corporations that wrote it in secret, at least absorb the cost of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program; and why should they? There are millions of elderly Americans who paid into Medicare throughout their entire working lives who can suck it up and do right by corporate America and pay for retraining Americans who will lose their jobs to international trade. Plus, what red-blooded retired American dare refuse to forfeit their health insurance to pay for tax credits to help out-of-work Americans buy health insurance? Republicans have been demanding for years that the elderly give up their Medicare and Social Security to fund tax cuts for the poor beleaguered corporations, so it is not out of line that they, and some Democrats, believe the elderly should pay to relieve corporate responsibility for training out-of-work Americans after killing more of their jobs.
The elderly, soon-to-be displaced workers, and all Americans for that matter, should be livid that the people who wrote the trade deal in secret, big pharma and other corporations, will make even greater profits at the expense of American jobs, environmental and financial regulations, and the elderly’s Medicare. Apparently, it has become so normal to make other Americans pay to increase corporate profits, that only 61 House Democrats see what President Obama and the Senate refuse to even acknowledge; at least out loud. America is under complete control and run by corporations to such an extent that big business can rape and pillage the population with impunity simply because the rich are well aware that only a handful of Democrats are unafraid of standing up to their thievery.
It is worth noting here, right now, that since the provisions of the TTP were written in abject secrecy by corporations over the past three years, it is highly unlikely that, like the entire Congress, President Obama has read much more than a very brief summary of the TTP’s provisions. As more than one pundit has acknowledged, the President and Democrats understand that, with only about a year-and-a-half left of his presidency, Republicans are not going to pass anything that might be attributed positively to President Obama’s legacy. A significant benefit to corporate America like the Trans-Pacific Partnership will add to the President’s legacy, and because this is corporate America, it is left to the people, whether it is the elderly forfeiting their Medicare insurance benefits, or the poor forfeiting Medicaid and food stamps, to ensure that a positive corporate profit legacy will be at the expense of anyone but the people that wrote and will benefit from TPP; corporate America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.