Corporate America Buys Fast Track Authority

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 6/27/2015 01:30:00 AM
 Fast-track's passage was more or less bought.
We have come full circle on trade at the end of Barack Obama's second term as the American president. Campaign Mode Obama circa 2008 adopted some pretty nasty anti-trade rhetoric. As I noted so many years ago, this tactic is standard fare for Democratic candidates for president to gain the support of or at least silence staunchly isolationist elements in their party like labor unionists. Once they enter office, however, they ditch these patsies and reveal...their true pro-trade agenda.

And so it's happened with the passage of fast-track authority. With no further votes to win--he is in his second and last term as US president, Obama has pushed for this authority enabling him to conclude trade deals abroad--the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Asia and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Europe--and have them voted on an up-or-down basis in the US congress without modification.

What accounts for the relatively easy passage of  fast-track authority--after a few temporary hiccups? Simple: pro-trade contributions to politicians far outstrip anti-trade ones:
The political maneuvering and opinions on the trade partnership remain complex. But the money flowing to senators from interested groups has been much more one-sided. Industries, such as banks, insurance companies, utilities and many more, that back the bill in its current form have donated $218.4 million to current senators since October 2008, according to money in politics researcher MapLight. That's about nine times more than the $23.2 million contributed by groups that oppose it.

"As far as business, this is the most important vote that will be taken this year," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, who studies campaign finance. "The business community for the most part has been united on TPA, so you might expect a large disparity."
Seen from the perspective of campaign finance contributions, we should have known that the anti-trade set never really stood a chance. Money talks, that's all.