blueollie

Clinton and the TPP…meh..

Hmmm, so today Hillary Clinton said this:

In an interview Wednesday with PBS’s Judy Woodruff in Iowa, Clinton said, “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.

The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner cited the “high bar” she set earlier in the year as the reason she was giving the deal a thumbs down.

“I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security and I still believe that is the high bar we have to meet,” Clinton said.

She added: “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”

Emphasis mine. Note how artful this statement is; it has qualifications. However this TPP proposal is a bit different than it was at first, as even “lukewarm critic” Paul Krugman noted:

What I know so far: pharma is mad because the extension of property rights in biologics is much shorter than it wanted, tobacco is mad because it has been carved out of the dispute settlement deal, and Rs in general are mad because the labor protection stuff is stronger than expected. All of these are good things from my point of view. I’ll need to do much more homework once the details are clearer.

But it’s interesting that what we’re seeing so far is a harsh backlash from the right against these improvements. I find myself thinking of Grossman and Helpman’s work on the political economy of free trade agreements, in which they conclude, based on a highly stylized but nonetheless interesting model of special interest politics, that

An FTA is most likely to politically viable exactly when it would be socially harmful.

The TPP looks better than it did, which infuriates much of Congress.

So, I wonder…this woman chooses her words very carefully. Of course, Sanders supporters are declaring victory (“See, she’s feeling THE BURN”) but, well, as far as the deal goes, I am ambivalent. I suppose if I had to choose, I’d trust President Obama here, and yes, I know that means going against the knee jerk anti-trade woo-woos..though this deal really isn’t that much about trade.

So, on this issue, I am at odds with Sec. Clinton. Sort of. It really isn’t THAT important to me, either way.

October 8, 2015 - Posted by | Barack Obama, economics, economy, hillary clinton, social/political | ,

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