Why does Obama keep pushing the TPP? - The Buffalo News

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Why does Obama keep pushing the TPP?

WASHINGTON – President Obama is catching the lame-duck blues. On his recent trip to Asia, Chinese airport officials forced him to deplane on the crew’s stairs. The Philippine president hurled a gross insult at Obama for talking like an imperialist.

In Laos, the president took a question – probably prearranged – from a reporter on Obama’s final “legacy” issue. That’s the proposed 12-nation free trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The president voiced optimism that he would get free trade passed in his last four months. But before Obama spoke, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had already said the TPP was dead, not just until after the election but dead until after the next president takes the oath.

It is a great mystery as to why Obama wants this so much as he leaves office. President Bill Clinton liberalized China’s access to U.S. markets in his final days. But he did not face the spiraling social and economic crises that Obama is leaving behind.

Under Obama, the Democratic Party has leaned global. Its candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton, never saw so much corporate campaign money. For this reason, Obama and the Democrats do not see, or refuse to see, the obvious links between urban poverty, urban joblessness, failing businesses and urban violence.

One index of urban despair is school absenteeism. More than a third of students were chronically absent in public schools in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Detroit and Cleveland in a 2013-2014 survey just done by the U.S. Education Department Civil Rights Division.

Among smaller cities like Buffalo, chronic absenteeism was 50 percent, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business. This is Obama administration data.

Black youth unemployment is stuck in the 20 to 30 percent range in these cities. Nationally, black unemployment is double that of whites.

What is it that blinds some Democrats to the correlation among unemployment, soaring drug use and urban gunfire?

Obama addressed this deepening crisis at his Laos appearance, as he has for the last several years: to stir the pot. With the 15th anniversary of the Twin Towers disaster looming, he praised the strange behavior of a millionaire NFL backup quarterback for refusing to stand for the national anthem.

Obama’s economy has been worse than stagnant for the last several years. The New York Analysis of Policy and Government reports that 7.5 million U.S. workers were displaced from long-term employment from 2011 to 2015. This is also Obama administration data. Most of the workers were rehired, but to lower-paying jobs. Labor force participation is the lowest it has been since 1977.

Bill Clinton’s free trade moves haven’t helped anyone but top income earners. And Obama wants more of it with such potential TPP players as Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Canada, Mexico and Malaysia. Neither the administration nor the Democratic ticket explains how more free trade and immigration from Syria is going to help those now trapped in our inner cities. This is politically correct disconnect on a huge and dangerous scale.

Folding up. Years ago, reporters were drilled by their editors to ask tough questions. The morning after Hillary Clinton was quizzed by NBC’s Matt Lauer on her inconsistent testimony about her email servers, two of the nation’s greatest newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, took Lauer to task, saying he was unprofessional because he asked her tough questions, and asked follow-up questions. She hadn’t stood still for a real press conference for nine months. One wonders if the mainstream media will ever get its groove back. Was this a warning to future presidential debate moderators?

email: dturner@buffnews.com

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