David Dayen really lets Obama have it:
It’s beneath the dignity of the Presidency to so aggressively paint opponents as not just wrong on the facts, but hiding the truth on purpose. Warren has responded without using the same indecorous tactics. Unfortunately, I don’t have the same self-control. So by way of response, here are ten moments where the President or his subordinates have lied – call it “misled” or “offered half-truths” or whatever; but I’m in an ornery mood so let’s just say lied – about his trade agenda:
1. 40 PERCENT: The President and his team have repeatedly described TPP as a deal involving nearly 40 percent of global GDP. This tells only part of the story. First of all, the U.S. by itself represents 22 percent of global GDP; a bill naming a post office would involve that much. Second, we already have free trade agreements with six TPP partners – Canada, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Chile and Peru – and between them and us, that’s 80 percent of the total GDP in this deal. The vast majority of the rest is represented by Japan, where the average applied tariff is a skinny 1.2 percent, per the World Bank.
You can see this paragraph in graphic form here. The point is that saying TPP is about “40 percent of GDP” intimates that it would massively change the ability to export without tariffs. In reality it would have virtually no significance in opening new markets. To the extent that there’s a barrier in global trade today, it comes from currency manipulation by countries wanting to keep their exports cheap. The TPP has no currency provisions.
2. JOB CREATION: Saying, as the White House has, that the deal would support “an additional 650,000 jobs” is not true. This figure came from a hypothetical calculation of a report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which the Institute itself said was an incorrect way to use their data. “We don’t believe that trade agreements change the labor force in the long run,” said Peter Petri, author of the report, in a fact check of the claim.
The deal is actually more about building up barriers than taking them down. Much of TPP is devoted to increasing copyright and patent protections for prescription drugs and Hollywood media content. As economist Dean Baker notes, this is protectionist, and will raise prices for drugs, movies and music here and abroad.
3. EXPORTS ONLY: The Administration constantly discusses trade as solely a question of U.S. exports. A recent Council of Economic Advisors report touts: Exporters pay higher wages, and export industry growth translates into higher average earnings. But the Economic Policy Institute points out that this ignores imports, and therefore the ballooning trade deficit, which weighs down economic growth and wages. Talking about trade without discussing both imports and exports is like relaying the score of a ballgame by saying “Dodgers 4.” It is literally a half-truth. Recent trade deals have in fact increased the trade deficit, such as the agreement with South Korea. Senator Sherrod Brown notes that the deal has only increased exports by $1 billion since 2011, while increasing imports by $12 billion, costing America 75,000 jobs.
4. MOST PROGRESSIVE: Obama has called TPP “the most progressive trade deal in history.” First of all, so did Bill Clinton and Al Gore, when talking about NAFTA in 1993. Second, there’s reason to believe TPP doesn’t even clear a low bar for progressive trade deals. The Sierra Club, based on a leaked TPP environmental chapter, said that the deal is weaker than the landmark “May 10 agreement” for deals with Peru, Panama and Colombia, struck in 2007. Key Democrats who devised labor and environmental standards for those agreements, like Rep. Sander Levin, believe that TPP falls short. Even if the chapters were up to par, consistent lack of enforcement of the rules makes them ineffective. The U.S. Trade Representative has actually claimed the Colombia free trade agreement is positive because only one trade unionist in the country is being murdered every other week. Labor groups can only ask the White House to enforce labor rights violations, and for the past several years, the Administration simply hasn’t. So when Obama says violators of TPP will face “meaningful consequences,” based on the Administration’s prior enforcement, he’s lying.
Five more, go read the rest.