Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Obama's New Trade Deal Negotiations Favoring Profits Over People

I have just read about current trade negotiations with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) seeking more restrictive intellectual property laws in Vietnam and seven other Pacific nations. This, of course, will drive up medicine costs by giving companies long-term monopolies overseas. It will also "de-incentivize" drug companies from developing newer drugs.

The negotiations seek to export the American patent regime, long maligned as fueling the highest drug prices of any nation (along with the no-negotiation law that Medicare Part D suffers under).

This "junk patent" scheme will not only cause many deaths in those third-world countries, but will increase substantially the cost of foreign aid spent on medicines for relief programs for people lucky enough to get assistance.

Why is a Democratic president aiding in this scheme to maximize corporate profits at the expense of poor people and American taxpayers? Isn't 30 years of favoring large corporations and the wealthy over the middle class and the poor enough? Is there no point at which the president will take a stand against regressive and oppressive Republican policies?

I would suggest that Obama take a serious look at his chief-of-staff (former board member of one of the big drug companies), his economic team (an alarming number of whom are former officials of Goldman-Sachs), his negotiators with the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (who previously advocated corporate interests over those of consumers and taxpayers), and any others that he is responsible for hiring.

This is not just another capitulation; this is cronyism and hypocracy. We invested so much getting Obama into office to change things, and betrayals like this are heart-breaking.

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