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Economic Security, Health and Safety of Nation

December 11, 2008

Economic Security, Health and Safety of Nation

Seven national groups join together to reverse slide on pocketbook issues, announce call for White House consumer “czar,” goals for new Congress, challenges for new administration

Washington, D.C. – Leaders of seven of the country’s leading public interest groups are calling for the adoption of six major pro-consumer priorities, including the reinstatement of the White House Special Advisor on Consumer Affairs.  As the economic crisis deepens, it is more important than ever for government leaders to deal quickly and effectively with pocketbook issues affecting every American consumer.   The groups have developed an agenda of the top issues on which consumers should hold policymakers accountable in the coming Congress and new administration. The agenda was sent to President-elect Obama and Congressional leaders.

Leaders of the seven groups – Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center, National Consumers League, Public Citizen, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, representing millions of American consumers – have united behind this agenda in response to increasing risks to consumer rights and protections.

Some recent threats to consumer rights, protections and standards of living include: the financial crisis and mortgage meltdown, high and volatile oil prices, growing concerns over the safety of imports and food, and the rising cost of health care.

As a result of anti-consumer policies in these areas, the coalition has developed a six-point agenda to highlight some of the most critical issues facing the American public today. The leaders noted that Congressional passage of comprehensive Consumer Product Safety Commission reform this summer was a positive step, suggesting that Congress may be ready to consider other important consumer reforms.

As the events of recent months have shown, weak consumer protections don’t just harm individual Americans, but the economy overall. Inadequate laws and poor oversight of credit and financial services have led to a huge loss of wealth for many American families and helped trigger an economic recession.  This agenda is not simply a way to protect consumers, but to increase the economic and health security of the country.  The agenda is a key starting point for raising questions of policymakers about how they intend to protect the public interest, said the leaders of the seven organizations.

The consumer leaders are intent on continuing to build an influential consumer movement that will be a powerful force for change. The six-point agenda includes:

  • Restore the United States Office of Consumer Affairs; Put a Consumer “Czar” In The White House.
  • Rein in Wall Street Excesses, Protect Consumers from Abusive and Predatory Lending.
  • Protect Consumers from Price-Gouging in Oil, Gas and Electricity Markets, and Take Steps To Provide Households With Access to Alternative Energy and Efficiency.
  • Improve Consumer Access to Justice By Reinstating Legal Rights.
  • Guarantee Safe, High Quality, Affordable Healthcare for Everyone.
  • Ensure our Food and Products are Safe.

READ the complete agenda.

READ the letter to elected officials.