Mr. Shapiro does his very best to articulate his support, and the support of his fellows, at Brookings, and most importantly, to curry the favor of President Obama, with his essay on the TPP Treaty.
At Brookings, we like to think big and our jobs don’t require the support of specific Congressional districts, so we tend to side with presidents on trade deals. Of course, there is broad recognition that trade liberalization creates winners and losers, but the overall economic benefits outweigh the cost. This implies a focus on creating a safety net for displaced workers can help make up for the losses, but broad support for the deal. Indeed, while Brookings as a whole never takes institutional positions, there is considerably more agreement among the individual Brookings experts on the value of trade deals such as TPP than on most issues.
Walter Lippmann’s misplaced faith in a technocratic elite, as a political buffer against the predations of democracy, is demonstrated with absolute clarity in this statement by Mr. Shapiro. The notion and practice of Constitutional checks and balances, not to speak of the advise and consent role of Congress, has also been lost in Mr. Shapiro’s rhetorical genuflection to presidential power! How can any member of either congressional house vote intelligently on a classified document/treaty? Unless, like Mr. Shapiro, it is an act of political faith driven by an abject political conformity. He is speaking for the foundation itself in his support for TPP. One can only wonder at the ‘faith’ Mr. Shapiro places in the president. The agreement is a classified document, but we do have leaks and speculation as to the effects of this treaty, yet:
All of this demonstrates that the main issue for our experts is how to square the extremely difficult domestic politics of the issue with the TPP’s desirable geopolitical ambitions and economic effects. And it reflects a general worry at Brookings and beyond, that domestic political disputes in the United States are increasingly hobbling American efforts to respond to the dramatic geopolitical challenges of the day.
Have we yet to witness the end of the continuing exercise of the bad faith of Neo-Liberals, or their pandering to the powerful ? Should this surprise? As they are the eternal job seekers, and proximity to power is a continuing temptation: recall Mr. Cass Sunstein, among many others? Even in the face of the seventh year of the dismal watershed of the economic collapse of 2008? To our great misfortune the rise of the Think Tank and it’s function as the font of political propaganda continues unabated.