The American people have heard for years that there is too much regulation of businesses in the U.S. Folks have been sold this bill of goods by the giants of Corporate America and many citizens believed it. But events in recent years have clearly shown what happens in this country when ordinary folks don’t have adequate safeguards to protect them from corporate wrongdoing and abuse. Regardless of what the public relations campaigns have said, the federal government has never done a very good job of regulating enterprises such as the automobile, drug and chemical industries. The fault lies directly with Congress and that is because of the tremendous amount of money poured into political campaigns and the powerful lobbyists who work for Corporate America. We have seen under-regulation, combined with corporate disregard of safety rules, resulting in:
• vehicles being recalled because of safety-related defects;
• drugs on the market that never should have been approved;
• multiple salmonella and E. coli outbreaks;
• a deluge of lead-tainted toys;
• a massive and environmentally-devastating oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico;
• deadly mine disasters; and
• the collapse of our nation’s economy, which has cost eight million American jobs.
Public Citizen has been a leader in the battle to bring about change in Washington so that the public is protected, but Big Business has fought back at every opportunity. Public Citizen had this to say:
Despite this very recent history, Big Business is waging a massive, multi-million dollar campaign to eliminate vital regulations and public protections while strengthening corporations’ grip on our democracy. Republican leaders in Congress have signaled that they intend to work hand in glove with Big Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on this assault on our health and safety laws. They plan to challenge existing public protections, weaken agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and block the implementation of Wall Street reform and other legislation. Some Democrats also have indicated a strong skepticism of regulation, if not an outright anti-regulatory bias.
The assault by the grants into Corporate America on regulatory protections threatens the lives and health of American citizens as well as our health and our nation’s economy. Huge corporations, their lobbyists and public relations firms routinely overstate the costs of public protections and ignore their benefits. In a prime illustration of what is put out by junk economists, the corporate-funded Heritage Foundation attributes more than a third of all the costs of regulation issued in 2010 to fuel economy standards. Yet Heritage fails to mention that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found those very rules would confer benefits three times as great as the costs. That is typical of the false information that is routinely put out on a regular basis for public consumption.
Public Citizen needs help in its fight to dispel Big Business’s baseless claims once and for all. Ordinary citizens must get serious about putting America back to work and making our country safer and cleaner. Big Business must be regulated to stop rampant wrongdoing that frequently is criminal in nature. For example, during the last five years alone Big Pharma has paid $14.8 billion in penalties for allegedly violating federal and state laws, primarily for cheating the federal and state governments on price, and for improperly marketing medicines for purposes for which they had not been approved. New rules must be passed so that corporate crime no longer pays.
Stronger prescription drug safety rules and enforcement are badly needed. The FDA is compromised because 50% of its budget for drug review and approval is provided by the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, the regulatory agency often seems more loyal to Big Pharma than to the public it serves. Since the adoption of drug company funding in 1992, the FDA has reviewed and approved a record number of new drugs that later had to be recalled from the market.
In fact, Public Citizen research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that one in five new drugs was found to have a significant safety problem after it had been approved. Corporations cannot be trusted to place your health and well-being ahead of their bottom line. Public Citizen needs help in order to win strong consumer protections and ensure that agencies fulfill their mission of protecting the public from corporate wrongdoers and abusive corporate power.
Polluters must be regulated in order to protect our health and the planet. Greenhouse gas and other pollutants threaten us with climate catastrophe, while worsening a virtual epidemic of asthma and other lung diseases. Stronger clean air rules will unleash a wave of technological innovation that will improve environmental health and reinvigorate our economy. We also need much tougher rules on oil drilling to prevent a recurrence of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Source: Public Citizen
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