June 23, 2015


Possible sub-head: 'The modern reprise of Don Quixote.'

Since the wee hours of the TEA Party movement I've been pleading for elected representatives to call shenanigans on the Washington "establishment" that fleeces the citizenry while telling us "we're looking out for you." My representative, Congressman Ken Buck (A Republic - CO) is proving to be such a man.

While he angered my fellow liberty and conservative activists by not walking the plank in a futile effort to oust Speaker Boehner (Washington D.C. - OH) he proved his constitutional bona fides by being one of only 34 courageous Republicans to vote NO on the TPA bill, aka "Obamatrade." And now he is fundraising on it.


Bully, Congressman! I'm in. Don't tell dagny but I put my money where my blogging is.

Join me by visiting Ken's donate page. He suggested $25, which sounded fair to a tightwad like me.

From the "courageous Republicans" link above:

"Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today," Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. "Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow's defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude."
2016 Colorado Freedom on the March Government Media and Blogging Politics Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at June 23, 2015 11:45 AM

It is so on.

I received the same fundraising email. Unlike you, I was totally disgusted and thought for the first time that we had made a big mistake.

Courageous? Populist blowhard-ism is more like it. Just because the Democratic party is too beholden to their Union, protectionist polity doesn't mean we have to destroy our economy to deny the President a win.

You, my brother are outrageously mistaken on this one. Trade good.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 1:17 PM

Give $25 to Cato or AEI or Reason.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 1:54 PM

And, once again, dagny was right. (She said she thought you were pro-TPA.)

Yes, brother. Trade good. But this truckload of dung ain't got nothin' to do with trade, any more than PPACA has anything to do with medicine.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2015 3:01 PM

"TPA is so good, it has to be written, reviewed, debated, passed, and signed into law... in secret."

Why is anyone willing to buy that pig in a poke, much less my esteemed blog brother? Sunlight! We need more sunlight!

"Nothing good ever happens after midnight." And no good legislation ever emerges from behind closed doors.

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting what to have for dinner." Representative democracy is a flock of sheep agreeing to let only the wolves vote.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2015 3:04 PM

Breaking: Ted Cruz flips to No on TPA.

And so does former proponent and author of the linked piece, Andrew McCarthy - with a qualifier:

If I were convinced, as Senator Cruz appears to be, that TPA - regardless of its legal and policy soundness - had become a smokescreen for slamming through non-trade legislation that would be worse for the country than trade is good for the country, I would not support it either.

It is a Trojan Horse so big and so powerful that future Trojan Horses will be referred to as "TPA Bills."

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2015 3:19 PM

You've known her a bit longer than I -- has dagny ever been wrong?

The secrecy serves two purposes. One is as a great fundraising scam: low information voters are convinced to send $25 to populist candidates under the guise of transparency. But the second is more important and takes as its foundation your sagacious opinion of democracy.

The comparison is base-closures. If we say we don't need the Navy Yard in Eieio, Wyoming, perhaps Sens. Barasso and Enzi will bow to economics and geography -- but less scrupulous legislators will fight tooth and nail to keep the largesse flowing to the district. So, they came up with a plan to have a base closure commission as a legal and legitimate parliamentary trick to get around that particular failure of democracy (Public Choice theory, more appropriately). The commission lists a bunch of bases and Congress votes up or down not amending it to "everybody's but mine."

Trade suffers from the same disparity. "Trade good" but allowing democracy into it turns it into mercantilism.

You put me in a bind because most of the deals are pretty awful. I'd like a trade bill that read "Trade Good. We hereby rescind all subsidies, drawbacks, and tariffs. Have a nice Day!" But with that not on the menu, I'll go for all the crappy little ones along the way.

The authority extends into the next president's term and maybe Hillary will channel some of Bill's mojo -- I mean, President Paul will be able to make full use. Even if I do not trust the President a tit-for-tat partisan cycle of empowering your party's president to cut deals will make the world poorer.

And we have the Pope for that.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:26 PM

Senator Cruz (Gonna be prez someday - TX) heard it was a good way to raise $25.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:30 PM

Make that 35 courageous Republicans! A Bernie Sanders Talking Filibuster Could Help Stop the Fast Track to Greater Inequality.

Mean. Less-than-fair -- but fun!

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:42 PM

dagny (never been wrong) Poppins would like to know: What does this bill actually do? Anyone? Beuller??

Posted by: dagny at June 23, 2015 3:50 PM

Cato's Nine Myths is a good place to start. When the President negotiates a free trade agreement, it says Congress will give him an up-down vote with no amendments. Like the base closure, this helps agreements avoid derailment by hyper-interested parties.

As noted by the CRS, "TPA reflects decades of debate, cooperation, and compromise between Congress and the executive branch in finding a pragmatic accommodation to the exercise of each branch's respective authorities over trade policy.” It represents a "gentleman's agreement" between the legislative branch and the executive branch—with the former promising the latter "fast track" rules for the requisite congressional approval of an FTA, if, and only if, the latter (i) agrees to follow a detailed set of congressional "negotiating objectives" for the agreement's content; and (ii) engages in a series of consultations with Congress on that content. As discussed more fully below, each branch of government retains its constitutional authority to abandon this gentleman's agreement, but doing so will essentially kill any hope of signing and implementing new FTAs. So, with limited exceptions, Congress and the executive toe the line.
Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:58 PM

This thread made me go back and read Republicans Should Vote No On Trade Promotion Authority by Hinderocker @ PowerLine.

Some basic quotes for the analysis (much more basic and example driven than CATO's):

the main focus [these days] now is on non-tariff barriers. If we are talking about quotas, fine; free traders will say, get rid of them. But it isn’t that simple. Environmental regulation, or the lack thereof, can also be considered a non-tariff barrier. There is a real risk that a liberal administration may use trade negotiations to commit the United States to domestic policies that Congress would never pass.

TPP also includes provisions on immigration that promote the “mobility of labor.” Will TPP commit the U.S. to allowing even more immigration of low-skill workers, on top of the historically unprecedented levels we are already accommodating? No one seems to know, or be willing to say.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 24, 2015 1:23 AM

Thanks for the Hinderacker link, nb. I'll excerpt further...

There are many reasons to oppose TPA, and the TPP it will almost assuredly beget. The one that is of utmost concern to me is the provision that threatens to subjugate the US Constitutional Republic to an international governing body:

Further, TPP would establish a commission that can enter into new agreements so that TPP is a "living document." We know how well that works.

Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican in Washington who most looks out for American workers, is adamantly opposed to granting President Obama fast track authority:

A vote for fast-track is a vote to erase valuable procedural and substantive powers of Congress concerning a matter of utmost importance involving the very sovereignty of this nation. Without any doubt, the creation of this living commission with all its powers will erode the power of the American people to directly elect—or dismiss from office—the people who impact their lives.

The Democrats want us to be like the European Union, where millions of people are ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, and national interests are subordinated to the welfare of the trans-national class of the rich, fashionable and politically connected.

What is so critical about this trade pact that we must risk anything remotely like this? Yes I support trade. But I am also an American exceptionalist. TPP and TPA threaten to relegate the American experiment to the dustbin of history. At least until a new generation of winter soldiers wins back our liberty from an even more sinister crown.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 11:43 AM

Re: The call for a Sanders filibuster, it is neither mean nor unfair. Dems traditionally oppose trade agreements because of union influences. Most of them also oppose TPA because of the boost it promises to multinational corporate cronyism - one of the same objections named by the Republican Congressman Buck.

We have a kumbaya moment here, and my blog brother doesn't see it. Let me remind you where we have common cause with 90% of Americans.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 12:06 PM

I must renege on something I said yesterday - yes, I do believe that TPA is UNconstitutional in addition to supraconstitutional.

dagny did not believe my assertion that the Constitution requires a two-thirds approval vote by the Senate on international treaties. Article II. Section 2. paragraph 2:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

[emphasis mine]

TPA undoes this. And with the prohibition of the procedural filibuster, even undoes the 60 vote margin that TPA barely squeaked by with. 51 votes now, to approve any trade related* treaty POTUS desires. James Madison, call your office.

*There is no requirement that the treaty deal exclusively with trade.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 3:12 PM | What do you think? [14]