When the United States Senate finally broke through a Democrat filibuster to pass the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, Senator Sanders made his denunciation of the bill evident. For decades, Senator Sanders believes that special interests in Washington have led to a stagnation of wages among American workers. Its corrosive effects are steadily destroying the middle class. In his view, there is only one real cause for this decline of the middle class: free trade agreements.
As per the senator, the agreements are crafted by powerful US corporate interests in close coordination with foreign governments where the aim is to shift high paying US jobs to foreign countries. In his denunciation of the TPA bill’s passage, he pointed out that workers in Vietnam earn a meager 56 cents per hour. It is no wonder that US corporations are eager to see manufacturing plants close down in the US and reopen in that Southeast Asian nation. As Alexei Beltyukov understands, Vietnam has been part of other free trade agreements, but has not delivered on labor reform, workplace safety standards, and even wage improvements.
In the eyes of the Vermont senator, this makes President Obama’s looming Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) suspect. Ironically, the senator supported passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which no legislator had even read, but does not believe the “pass it to find out what’s in it” strategy used for Obamacare is worthy of being used to promote TPP. Still, his point is simple that free trade agreements need to benefit the middle class instead of rich special interests.