By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal
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Don't Trade Away Our Health (NYT)
Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that the Trans-Pacific Partnership's intellectual property agreements will raise drug prices unnecessarily and slow innovation.
The secrecy of the T.P.P. negotiations makes them maddeningly opaque and hard to discuss. But we can get a pretty good idea of what’s happening, based on documents obtained by WikiLeaks from past meetings (they began in 2010), what we know of American influence in other trade agreements, and what others and myself have gleaned from talking to negotiators.
Trade agreements are negotiated by the office of the United States Trade Representative, supposedly on behalf of the American people. Historically, though, the trade representative’s office has aligned itself with corporate interests. If big pharmaceutical companies hold sway — as the leaked documents indicate they do — the T.P.P. could block cheaper generic drugs from the market. Big Pharma’s profits would rise, at the expense of the health of patients and the budgets of consumers and governments.
Follow below the fold for more.
Obama Veers Left (Politico)
Ben White speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about the president's budget. Konczal says this budget takes the focus off the deficit as a be-all,-end-all problem.
Obama's New Budget Proves the Grand Bargain is Finally Dead (Vox)
Matt Yglesias explains why the Obama administration has, in this budget, stopped playing to potential compromises and showdowns and focused on what the president actually wants to achieve.
A Simple Guide to Obama’s New Proposals for Spending and Taxes (WaPo)
Max Ehrenfreund breaks down the main points in the Obama budget and explains how taxes would change in order to pay for programs like funded preschool and investment in infrastructure.
U.S. Growth Rate Slips to 2.6% Raising Doubts About Strength of Economy (The Guardian)
Rupert Neate reports on the final numbers for the fourth quarter of 2014, which showed slower growth than economists had expected. Still, overall GDP growth for the year was higher than 2013.
How Tipping Helped Make Sexual Harassment the Norm for Female Servers (In These Times)
Jenny Brown says that workers who rely on tips often have no choice but to put up with harassment, as discussed in a new report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
Uber and Lyft Drivers May Have Employee Status, Judge Says (Bloomberg)
In two different lawsuits, judges have indicated that they are unconvinced that drivers for these services are merely consumers of a software platform, reports Karen Gullo.