In a May 30 Detroit Free Press op-ed, Marina Whitman made her case on behalf of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a proposed deal that would enhance the president's authority in trade negotiations by ensuring that "any agreement he signs will be submitted to the Congress for a straight up-or-down vote, with no amendments allowed."
National coverage of the ongoing talks has not missed the unusual composition of President Obama's supporters on this issue - primarily Republican - while his usual Democratic allies, including labor unions, environmentalists, and the U.S. auto industry, have stood in emphatic opposition. But Whitman, self-described as "a Michigander, an environmentalist and a retired GM executive," has sided with the president's policy solution.
Taking aim at the opposition argument, she clarifies that it is not trade deals that have resulted in the stagnation of American wages, but the increased competition from globalization. Whitman, who also served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1972-73), says that, if Congress is to debate this issue, "it should consider it on its own, not as a barrier to the successful conclusion of the TPP."
--By Nick Pfost (MPP '15)
Marina v.N. Whitman is Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. From 1979 until 1992 she was an officer of the General Motors Corporation, first as Vice President and Chief Economist and later as Vice President and Group Executive for Public Affairs, which included the Economics, Environmental Activities, Industry-Government Relations and Public Relations staffs. Professor Whitman served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers in 1972-73.