Recall is fading. Nevertheless, memory reminds us that President Donald Trump led us to believe that as president he would be looking after all Americans. So far, he’s worked mainly on behalf of opposites to his oft-repeated promises during the campaign as he now leads and directs his cabinet to dismantle and otherwise do away with the federal regulations that were hard-fought into existence over many decades and thereby have protected American consumers everywhere and on-the-job workers through both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League is one national leader who takes issue with Trump’s promises while he ran for office and what he and his immediate subordinates have been up to during the past 15 months. She’s said, “The consumer protections that were put in place over the past two generations are being destroyed brick by brick under the Trump administration.” That may sound as an exaggeration but, should one read far and wide, he will find that same conclusion has been reached by every consumer advocate in the nation.
Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, has said this administration is the most anti- and de-regulatory in American history. Columnist David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times has verified Weissman’s comments and further informs his readers that, after interviewing Weissman himself, that Trump’s insistence that fewer rules means more jobs and a more vibrant economy is not true. What has been found by looking into this matter on the effects of regulations is that our nation is better off when there are rules that keep tabs on and exert safety, health and economic measures to control corporations that too often have gone wild in their pursuit of profits and beyond, that is, unbridled greed.
What facts surface after a year of the Trump administration? Even half way through the Trump administration’s first year, the Office of Management and Budget reported doing away with or ending for any form of amendment, 860 regulations having to do with consumer and worker safeguards and environmental protections. What we’re talking about in this matter include looser emission standards for fossil fuels, workplace safety regulations now gone that protect against exposure to hazardous chemicals, and, among so many others, elimination of safe drinking water guarantees.
Recently, Trump installed his super conservative budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was created to deal with the reckless corporate behavior that resulted in the close-call collapse of the country’s financial-services and brought on the worst recession in U.S. history. He, like Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who wants to terminate his department, Ryan Zinke, who seeks to turn all federal lands and waters over to oil drilling and private development, and Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator, are determined to bring an end to most of which the average American has treasured and valued for 120 years. Incidentally, regarding Mulvaney and the CFPB, he’s seen to it that all U.S. credit cards, in lengthy changes to terms and conditions, no longer afford the consumer any protections in the use of his credit cards.
We’ve learned more of late as GOP members of Congress have gone to work at “protecting” Americans from “government interference with competitive, innovative markets.” Just keep in mind, though, that, in a nation without any government interference, your car may stall on the freeway due to contaminated gas, access to your favorite beach or national park may be prevented because oil drillers have it barricaded off, your waters become non-potable because filtration’s gone, your food and meat have adulterating materials in them because it has not been inspected and the air you breathe is cancer-causing most everywhere while deadly in work environments.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)