Citizen Action Monitor

“Clinton is against the TPP…. And so, I think it’s dead for Obama’s administration”

“If there is ever to be a TPP, it has to be totally renegotiated,” says Clinton adviser, Joseph Stiglitz.

No 1735 Posted by fw, July 28, 2016

“She’s against it. And she’s against bringing it up to a vote in the lame-duck session, which was allegedly part of the Obama strategy, you know, that they’re not going to present it to Congress until they—the idea was not to do it until the lame-duck. Everybody has come out against the lame-duck. And so, I think it’s dead for Obama’s administration…. I think it makes it very clear that if there is ever to be a TPP, it has to be totally renegotiated. And the interesting thing is, I’ve talked to some of our trading partners, they would welcome that. Some of the worst provisions in there were not because our partners demanded it, it was because we demanded it. When I say ‘we,’ it was the corporate interests that, unfortunately, were represented in the negotiations, not we the American people.”Joseph Stiglitz

Will she? Won’t she? Stiglitz has spoken – “She’s against it”.

And so have others. Earlier in the week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons, told Politico he believed Hillary Clinton would support the TPP, if she were elected president. But by Wednesday, McAuliffe offered this clarification: “There are things in the agreement she does not agree with. Unless she can get those to the point that she’s happy with it, she’s not going to support it, plain and simple.” McAuliffe added: “That’s what Senator Kaine said the other day; he said the same thing. If she can’t get the things that she wants changed, then she’s not going to support it.”

And late last week, Nance Pelosi (D-Calif) declared in a letter to several groups that protested outside her offices in San Francisco and delivered to 200,000 plus petition signatures opposing the TPP:

“Please be assured that I will oppose the TPP as it is currently written or any deal that attempts to separate commerce from the environment and will work to ensure our nation’s trade policies include increased transparency, more consultation, and stronger protections to create jobs, strengthen human rights and protect the environment,”

Below is an embedded 12-minute video of Part 1 of an interview with Stiglitz today on Democracy Now, followed by a transcript of that segment. To watch both parts of the interview and access to complete transcript click on the following linked title.

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Will Hillary Clinton Flip-Flop Again on TPP After Election Day? We Ask Her Adviser Joseph Stiglitz  by Democracy Now, July 28, 2016

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: We’re here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, covering the Democratic National Convention, inside and out, from the streets to the corporate suites to the convention floor. We turn now, right now, to talk about the economic policies that are being put forward. We’re joined by Joe Stiglitz, who is the Nobel Prize-winning economist, to talk about—well, let’s go first to the delegates who held up a banner saying “TPP kills democracy.” Hundreds of others held signs denouncing the sweeping trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Obama has been pushing through the agreement, which encompasses 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the U.S., 40 percent of the world’s economy.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have come out opposing the deal amidst a wave of public protest by those who say it benefits corporations at the expense of health and environmental regulations. But earlier this week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told Politico he believes Hillary Clinton would support the TPP, if she were elected president. He is a close friend of Clintons. When asked by Politico if Clinton would change her position and support the deal, if elected, McAuliffe said, quote, “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed,” unquote. Speaking to NBC Wednesday, McAuliffe clarified his position.

GOV. TERRY McAULIFFE: There are things in the agreement she does not agree with. Unless she can get those to the point that she’s happy with it, she’s not going to support it, plain and simple. That’s what Senator Kaine said the other day; he said the same thing. If she can’t get the things that she wants changed, then she’s not going to support it.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the major concerns around the TPP is its anticipated impact on the cost of life-saving medicine. This is California delegate Alex White, who took part in the protest on the convention floor Wednesday.

ALEX WHITE: In October, when the full text released and it was made known to the public that there was a death sentence clause in it, that would basically mean that pharmaceutical companies would have a 20-year monopoly on medications, that would cause a single medication to cost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. My wife was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer three years ago, and through our—I have to do it for her and everybody who is diagnosed with cancer. I mean, that’s why—I don’t want to mean any disrespect to President Obama, but I’ve got to—I’ve got to stand up for people who are diagnosed with cancer. When they’re fighting for their lives, they shouldn’t have to fight to afford their medications.

AMY GOODMAN: The trade agreement, the TPP, will be one of the main economic issues the incoming president will have to address. Others include unprecedented levels of inequality, mounting student debt, financial sector reforms.

For more, we are joined by Joe Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia University professor, chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute, author of numerous books.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. So, you know, I was there on the convention floor yesterday, each day, hundreds of anti-TPP signs. You advise Hillary Clinton. What is her position on the TPP?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: She’s against it. And she’s against bringing it up to a vote in the lame-duck session, which was allegedly part of the Obama strategy, you know, that they’re not going to present it to Congress until they—the idea was not to do it until the lame-duck. Everybody has come out against the lame-duck. And so, I think it’s dead for Obama’s administration.

AMY GOODMAN: And what will that mean for the next president?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I think it makes it very clear that if there is ever to be a TPP, it has to be totally renegotiated. And the interesting thing is, I’ve talked to some of our trading partners, they would welcome that. Some of the worst provisions in there were not because our partners demanded it, it was because we demanded it. When I say “we,” it was the corporate interests that, unfortunately, were represented in the negotiations, not we the American people. And, you know, to me, I was an early opponent of TPP. And it’s so heartwarming to see that an issue that I thought would never get raised—you know, I thought it—and I think the Obama strategy was to try to push it through when nobody was looking—to see that it’s now become a mainstream issue. So, to me, this is a real victory for democracy.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you said you were an early opponent. The person you advise, Hillary Clinton, was not an early opponent. She said it was the gold standard, I think was her term, for trade agreements. She has been immensely pressured by, I think, what has shocked the Clinton juggernaut, and that is the tremendous popularity of Bernie Sanders, even if he doesn’t have much corporate media amplification of his views, like Donald Trump does, and she saw she had to change. I mean, you see it on the floor every single day of the convention.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah, I think that’s right, but it’s more than that. I mean, as people started looking at what actually emerged from the negotiations—remember, it was all secret. What we—all we could only figure out was what was coming out of leaks, which turned out to be remarkably accurate. You know, the leaks often do provide some information that, for good reason, the Obama administration didn’t want. And as others have looked at that agreement—even the U.S. government did an estimate of what would be the trade benefit. You know, how would—what would be the benefit to GDP? Negligible. Outside studies, like at Tufts University, said it would actually decrease our GDP. So, the benefits, as the agreement has become out in the open, have clearly—have been seen clearly negative. And the cost—you mentioned, you know, the cost in terms of access to drugs, pricing of drugs. And, to me, the most important aspect, the dampener on regulation, what is called the ISDSprovision, the investment agreement, that’s the provision that Elizabeth Warren has really nailed the TPP on, and she’s absolutely right.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what makes you so sure what Hillary Clinton’s stance is? She chooses her running mate, Timothy Kaine. And Tim Kaine, the senator of Virginia, I think as early—as late as Thursday, was hailing the TPP, but then chosen, given the climate, you know, says he is against it. You have McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, extremely close to the Clintons, who says she’s for it. What do you know that he doesn’t know?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I think part of this is that the Democratic platform, which is a commitment of the Democratic Party, came out with a set of principles that any trade agreement, current or past, has to satisfy it. And if you look at those principles, the TPP, in its current form, doesn’t satisfy it. NAFTA doesn’t satisfy it. So, to me, although they didn’t make it explicit—

AMY GOODMAN: But, I mean, that was—a lot of especially the Bernie delegates on that platform committee pushed hard for no TPP, and Clinton campaign pushed very hard back, and she won.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah. But, to me, my understanding of that was they didn’t want to embarrass President Obama. But you read those principles, what a trade agreement has to satisfy, and it’s pretty obvious that TPP doesn’t satisfy it, NAFTAdoesn’t satisfy it. So, my interpretation, it’s a commitment of Hillary, the next Democratic administration, to renegotiate NAFTA and to renegotiate TPP. The interesting thing is, again, I’ve talked to some of our trade partners in NAFTA, in TPP, and they would welcome that. So, it’s an open door.

AMY GOODMAN: What does Hillary Clinton say privately to you?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I haven’t talked to her particularly on this, but I have talked to the policy team on it, and I think they are very aware why there’s such hostility, where TPP went wrong. And that, I think, was a wake-up call. You know, there was this sort of ideology that was very strong—you know, trade is what promotes growth, we’re in favor of growth, we want to create jobs, you know, all that. And now that you actually see the agreement and you look at what the studies say, there’s no GDP coming out of this.

AMY GOODMAN: What does Clinton’s selection of Kaine tell you?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I think it’s—she’s looking for somebody that gives her credibility with the middle. And she was trying to make a political judgment about what was the best way to win the election, because, let me say, I believe unambiguously there’s one big issue here. The damage that Trump would inflict in our society, if he were elected, is enormous.

AMY GOODMAN: How?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Anywhere from racism to his economic policies. So, to me, there’s no choice. You know, it is really imperative that the Democratic—you know, Hillary wins. And then, if I were in a position, the question is: What is the best vice president to win, consistent with my values? You know, and the vice—

AMY GOODMAN: Would Tim Kaine have been your pick?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: There are some other candidates that I would have looked at. There’s one other feature that, you know, when I—when you start doing the calculations, some of the best candidates are senators from states where there’s a Republican governor. And if you appoint the Democratic senator, the Republican governor can put a next senator in line. And holding the Senate for the Democrats is extraordinarily important, important for the Supreme Court, one of the really big issues our country faces. So, I guess what I would say is, these are very complicated trade-offs, judgments. You know, the good thing is that in Virginia, I think Kaine will be replaced by another Democratic senator, so that won’t have that negative effect. A lot of the other—well, I’ve met with Kaine. I can understand why she would have a lot of confidence in him. And I do hope he will change his position on TPP. Obviously, if he’s going to support the Democratic platform, he has to change.

AMY GOODMAN: Supported fast track, giving President Obama fast track for pushing through TPP.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I think that was a wrong position. But the fact that—

AMY GOODMAN: Also joining with a number of other senators in fighting regulations of large regional banks, this just in the last few weeks.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: And again, the issue is, once you join on the Democratic platform, I think he’s committed to supporting the Democratic platform. And—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz. We’ll be back with him in a minute.

END OF PART 1

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