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BS Detector: Trans Pacific Partnership, Now You Can Read It?

There is a simple rule here, a rule of legislation, a rule of business,
a rule of life: beyond a certain point, complexity is fraud. You can
apply that rule to left-wing social programs, but you can also apply
that rule to credit derivatives, hedge funds, all the rest of it.

J. O’Rourke

In this corner of the desk is the Trans Pacific Partnership weighing in at 100 pounds.

In this corner of the desk is the Trans Pacific Partnership weighing in at 100 pounds.

Finally, the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement has been offered for public consumption. But don’t get to excited. It is over 5,544 pages long. By contrast the Constitution is four pages long. The Declaration of Independence is one page long. The number of pages in the Bible varies greatly but averages around 1,200 pages. If you thought it was challenging trying to understand the language in the couple of dozen pages of your home mortgage, imagine trying to conceptualize over five thousand pages of regulations. I don’t take any particular view on the merits of any of these pages. But I refuse to accept a treaty just because it serves “free trade.”

The best and brightest international lawyers, representing numerous countries with every possible corporate and national implication taken into account, wrote these 5,544 pages, of abstract and obtuse legalese. If you are a little less trusting, you might ask if some of the language was intentionally written to hide the real intent of the provisions. Obviously, real issues of national sovereignty are implicated when a treaty relating to commerce is signed. But are the interests of openness and accountability served by this process?

Most importantly, are the interests of common Americans taken into consideration by this legislation? If so, who was representing them? The President who didn’t want us to see the legislation before Congress voted to fast track the treaty? Or the Congress that in approving fast track authority, can now only reject it or accept it. It can’t be amended. I challenge anyone to come up with a compelling reason why this treaty has to be accepted quickly without the possibility of changes. Especially since Congress had very little time to vet the issues to the country.   This is what the fast track authority does. It creates a haven for cowards to avoid taking real stands and making real decisions.

This is nothing more than the normal corporate cronyism and abdication of Congress’ responsibility. In the upside down world of Congress, they vote to accept a treaty as written, before they can really study it thoroughly. Congress should not waste its time reading the treaty but simply vote it down. The treaty drafters can either send Congress a treaty that a normal human can comprehend, with sufficient time for study and input, or go back to the drawing board and spend the next decade of their lives writing another treaty that will also be voted down. This treaty’s level of complexity and the fast track scheme that forces it down the throats of the country, serves only the interests of those seeking advantage by hiding their true intentions.



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