This is Monday’s post to give you extra time to . . .
File your second quarterly estimated tax payment, if you have substantial income from which tax is not already withheld.
Watch Hillary’s kick-off. I am enthusiastically neutral among all of our fine Democratic candidates, but that doesn’t mean I’m not elated and uplifted when one of them hits it out of the ballpark, as Hillary did at Four Freedoms Park this morning. It’s a speech of real significance, as we citizens plot our collective course forward, that every American should the take the time to hear.
Urge your Representative, if he or she is not on board with the President’s trade agenda, to reconsider. How so many of his traditional allies could be on the other side of this is something that I tried to fathom and explain Thursday.
It would be a tragedy if we fell into the trap of sticking with status quo — which shafts workers and the environment — rather than improve it, as the TransPacific Partnership would surely do. Friday’s vote in the House to kill what’s been 10 years in the making just has to be reversed.
(A true lemon-from-lemonade solution would be for the Republicans to “give” Democrats some of the job-creating infrastructure spending that they’ve been blocking and/or an economy-boosting hike in the minimum wage: a face-saving way for current TPP opponents to declare partial victory for workers, even as, in fact it would be total victory for everyone . . . because we need all three: TPP, infrastructure, and a higher minimum wage.)
* Secrecy. There’ve been 1,700 briefings on Capitol Hill and with labor leaders. But as one administration official explained it to me, “What we haven’t done – and what we shouldn’t do – is publicly announce our bottom-lines to the negotiators on the other side of the table. And there’s a very good reason we won’t do that. We’re trying to drive a hard bargain, so we can get the best deal possible for the American people, and we won’t be able to do that by undermining our own position at the negotiating table with our foreign counterparts by showing the other players our cards.”
Once the deal is done, Congress and the American people will have months and months to scrutinize every word before it is voted up or down.
* ISDS. Investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, around for decades, can be found in over 3,000 agreements worldwide, of which the US is party to 50. Some have been poorly conceived. The adminsitration is working to keep the ISDS mechanism in this trade agreement from being one of those. But I’m told that despite our being party to 50 such agreements already, “the United States has faced only 17 ISDS cases and we haven’t lost any of them.”
Despite the current crappy status quo — where Fords and Chevy’s made in Detroit are hit with a 30% import duty but Fords and Chevy’s made in Mexico enter the same Asian countries duty-free — U.S. exports supported 11.7 million American jobs in 2014. And those jobs an average pay better than non-export jobs.
If we succeed in leveling the playing field, we’ll create more high-paying American jobs. This is a big deal. As is moving the uneforceable labor and environmental “side agreements” of NAFTA into the enforceable trade agreement itself.
Quote of the Day
On the day of the 1983 economic summit, James A. Baker 3rd, then chief of staff, realized Mr. Reagan had not read his briefing book. When Mr. Baker asked why, Mr. Reagan responded, 'Well, Jim, The Sound of Music was on last night.'~Professor Herbert S. Parmet reviewing President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
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