An argument against TPA

Thomas Palley argues that we ought to let TPA lapse:

Over the last two decades the power of corporations has increased dramatically while that of labor has fallen. That power shift is reflected in the increased numbers of Washington K Street lobbyists working on behalf of corporations, which has increased corporate influence over policy and legislation. TPA plays into and amplifies this power shift.

Trade deals are negotiated by the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), and then sent to Congress for approval. This negotiating process is stacked in favor of business…

Bad agreements pass because the political costs of voting them down on account of specific problems are perceived as too high. Moreover, TPA provides individual congressmen with political cover, enabling them to retain favor with corporate sponsors without having to explain to constituents their lack of action.

Palley’s analysis of the political economy of TPA for PTAs is compelling, though I’m confident that we disagree about which elements of PTAs have been undesirable. See Bernard Gordon on the Christmas tree effect for more thoughts on the Congressional role in PTA formulation.