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Poverty in the United States:
President-elect Trump officially announced that the U.S. will quit TPP his first day in office.
This is a huge victory for America’s workers. It’s not just because this free trade agreement likely would have increased downward pressure on wages, further reduced manufacturing jobs, and increased trade deficits.
This is a victory because TPP’s death shows the power of working class and middle class votes.
Hundreds of millions were spent by big businesses to lobby for TPP. President Obama made TPP his number one legislative priority in his last term.
None of these forces were powerful enough to overcome the will of the American people. When it became clear that no one wanted another trade deal like NAFTA, even Hillary Clinton, long a neoliberal supporter of free trade, rescinded her support. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump also understood that they could not be viable presidential candidates if they supported trade deals that took away American jobs.
The death of TPP is only the beginning. U.S. politicians are starting to realize that they have to address the needs of the 99% if they want to keep or gain office.
This is a great article from Joan C. Williams at the Harvard Business Review. The white working class, households with a median income of $64,000, have largely been ignored by both major parties. Each party, influenced by neoliberal ideas, supported trade deals like NAFTA that shipped working class jobs overseas.
Trump, whatever you think of him and his politics, spoke to these people.
Hopefully, this will be a message to both major parties. You cannot keep ignoring the needs of the working class and expect to be successful.