TPP: A Trifecta Of Bad For All, Especially Middle Class

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is hardly a household name but a free trade deal encompassing the region is likely to hit most of American families hard, especially those of the middle class. Just how bad is the question. Bad enough -- and not the Michael Jackson kind of bad.

A potential TPP deal would consist of three parts -- the trade element, the investment element and the intellectual property element. On the trade front alone, the middle class is screwed, says political scientist Kenneth Thomas of the University of Missouri at St. Louis in a recent blog that ran in Business Insider.

Thomas, citing economics theories, explains that the more a country trades with other countries the greater the downward pressure on wages, especially in labor-intensive industries, especially in the United States, which has a low population density to begin with. Increased competition between domestic and international players ends up hurting workers in the end.

But that's just part of the story, Thomas adds. TPP's investment provisions (or at least according to leaked text) take dispute resolution out of the courts of a country that hosts foreign multinational corporations (of which the U.S. has the most of all TPP nations) and leaves it to an outside entity to make determinations, something that definitely benefits investor and business interests over a host country's government. In other words, the U.S. is screwed because it has the most foreign investment of any of the TPP participants.

TPP’s third strike? Intellectual property provisions would forbid governments from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to keep healthcare prices under control, which would represent a “very disturbing development,” according to Thomas.

"Hooray for baseball season, but that's three strikes against the TPP. This is a bad deal that will put further downward pressure on real wages which have gone 40 years since reaching their peak, that will undermine governments' ability to regulate, and will strengthen a small group of pharmaceutical, software, entertainment, and publishing companies at the expense of the rest of us," he concluded.

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