David Brooks is very upset at the Democrats for torpedoing President Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership. The Democrats’ move threatens to impoverish the world’s poor, damage the American economy and stifle innovation. It even imperils world peace, in a mini-version of the Senate’s rejection of the League of Nations at the end of World War I. As evidence for the calamitous consequences of a rejection of TPP, Brooks spends half his column citing the ostensible benefits for the world’s poor, for the American economy, etc. of previous trade agreements. Such are the wonders of free trade. But then, a little past halfway down his column, Brooks makes a surprising admission:

The [TPP] treaty is not mostly about reducing tariffs on goods. That work has mostly been done. It’s mostly about establishing rules for a post-industrial global economy, rules having to do with intellectual property, investment, antitrust and environmental protection.

So, the TPP is not mostly about free trade. But, uh, in that case, all Brooks’ preceding arguments in favor of the TPP, based on the benefits of free trade agreements, are irrelevant, are they not? Evidently, a self-contradiction within the space of a few column inches doesn’t bother Brooks.   But, I should be grateful to Brooks for confirming what I have been saying all along: the TPP is not mainly a “free trade agreement”; it is a business protection agreement, designed to shield multinational corporations from the presumed excesses of government regulation.   And of course, if you are a conservative like Brooks, you know that government regulation is always excessive.



  1. John Duggan June 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    – The Hollow ‘Free-Trade’ Promises –
    June 16, 2015
    By Bill Moyers and Bernard Weisberger

  2. Jeffrey Herrmann June 17, 2015 at 1:44 am

    The torpedoing vote was on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Bill, which was linked to the TPP Bill.
    The votes were Ayes: 96 Repugnicans and 40 Democrats; Noes: 158 Repugnicans and 144 Democrats.
    So Brooks concludes that all the harm that will be wreaked upon the world is all the fault of the Democrats.
    The 158 Repugnicans who voted No get a pass form Brooks because ….?

  3. John Duggan June 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    – 10 Reasons the TPP Is Not a ‘Progressive’ Trade Agreement –

    By Ralph Nader

    Huffington Post

    June 8, 2015


  4. John Duggan June 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    “… get ready for the battle over the TPP itself in the late autumn…

    Remember, 75 percent of Americans think that the TPP should be rejected or delayed according to a bipartisan poll from the Wall Street Journal. …

    Start organizing today to win tomorrow!”


    “King Obama,” his Royal Court, and the TPP

    by Ralph Nader

    June 25, 2015


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