And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming: More on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Posted by mmcmullan on 10/16/2013

Well howdy do! It appears the government shutdown is coming to an end and the impending debt limit breach will be averted (if you read this aloud, take a moment to find a hunk of wood to knock on). Way to go, Washington! It looks like the last few weeks of self-imposed government gridlock were effectively for nothing.

Still, don’t ever say that congressional intransigence never gave you anything; there are already plenty of ramifications for that gridlock, and not just the historically low approval-rating kind. One of them will be a semi-permanent ding on America’s standing as leader of the global economy. We’re talking about soft power, explains Thomas Catan of the Wall Street Journal:

No other country has a stock of government debt that is large enough or perceived as safe enough to replace U.S. Treasurys as the bedrock of the bond markets. The real damage to U.S. interests, analysts say, comes more from the country's loss of global influence.

(President) Obama was forced to skip a series of Asian-Pacific summits earlier this month to tackle the crises at home. The Russians and Chinese leaders had a "field day," said Fred Bergsten, director emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. "For Obama to have to flake out gave an easy one to the competition," he said.

It’s true: the president had to bail out on those Pacific diplomatic meetings, where he had hoped to push along talks regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. But, as Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul wrote in a note to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, maybe President Obama’s unexpected absence from these détentes were a blessing in disguise. Here’s another excellent quote for you to chew on:

Presently, the TPP fails to address foreign currency manipulation, and signing it as is “could lead to a permanent unfair trade relationship that further harms the United States economy.”

That’s a quote from a letter to the Administration signed by 60 U.S. Senators. It follows a similar letter from a majority of the House. Right now, that’s a shocking act of mass bipartisanship. But reigning in currency manipulation, particularly by Japan, must be a part of any deal.

Word. What’s the rush to sign a trade agreement if its current language will ultimately hurt American manufacturers and workers? Now that DC’s fever is breaking, tell President Obama to join one of the few bipartisan coalitions going in our nation’s capital: An opposition to the TPP that doesn’t address currency manipulation.

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