National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Wednesday President Obama is fully committed to the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP], despite predictions the deal would further erode America’s manufacturing base.
Obama stands against the majority of Democrats on the issue – including two Democrat presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
RT: Why is the President so adamant when he knows that most of his party doesn’t like it, and two presidential candidates from his party don’t want it? Even Donald Trump is against it?
Scott Paul: That is a good question. I struggle with that every day trying to figure out what the benefit is to the presidency. What I can gather is that he views it as a part of his legacy, as part of the Obama legacy – much like the Affordable Care Act, or diplomatic relations with Cuba. Even though the study the administration uses predicts it is going to lose manufacturing jobs, he continues to move forward.
He moves forward even though Mitch McConnell says the votes aren’t there in the Senate. Mitch McConnell is a supporter of this act, as you know. So it is a little bit mystifying to me as to why the President would continue to press it so forcefully, when the party leadership or the next party leadership Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders – both say: “No go on this!”
RT: Scott, put numbers to this, how decimating have recent trade agreements been to the manufacturing sector?
SP: We’ve lost a third of our manufacturing jobs: 60,000 manufacturing facilities closed down, and a third of all our manufacturing jobs – over 5 million – from 2000 to just this year. And the challenge has been a lot of those jobs weren’t lost because of robots or technology. It was trade deals – like NAFTA, and with China – they caused all of that. The TPP just isn’t fundamentally different from a NAFTA. And there are more economists who think this is the case. I hear it every day.