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Last night President Obama gave his second to last State of the Union speech. The topics covered varied from increasing taxes on the wealthy to climate change and the obligatory “a better politics” pablum. Also included was a push for Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP has proven to be controversial on a number of levels, but the primary concerns revolve around the results of previous free trade agreements and provisions within the agreement that surrender US sovereignty to corporate tribunals. Not surprisingly opposition is coming primarily from Obama’s own party and labor unions.

In his address Obama admitted that previous trade deals had negative results for workers but hoped waving China in front of people’s faces would distract them from history.

21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.

Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and we can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. Let’s give them one more reason to get it done.

TPP’s opposition is not simply from labor unions who worry about job losses, but other progressives who note that parts of the agreements will also limit internet freedom and seize power from institutions with democratic accountability and turn it over to corporate committees responsible only to their global 1% shareholders and management teams.

If TPP and its European counterpart the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are passed more and more decisions about the US economy will be made by non-Americans with no loyalty to America nor accountability to the American people.

The Republicans, not surprisingly, are in favor of turning over leadership of the US economy to transnational elites. President Obama’s chief opposition will come from within his own party, now in the minority in both chambers of Congress. The Obama Administration has already overseen an unprecedented explosion in wealth inequality, will it also preside over the loss of sovereign economic freedom?

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.