Back in the old West, snake oil salesmen would travel from town to town looking for easily duped locals who could be sweet-talked into buying useless elixir.
Now we’re seeing a 21st-century version, with former George W. Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana out on the stump for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an anti-regulatory road show, aimed at stripping away vital public safeguards in the name of “regulatory reform.”
As an answer to the Chamber’s snake oil tour, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards – in which Public Citizen plays a leading role – launched a new website today to serve as an informative and fun online destination where the myths of the rented propagandists are debunked.
A visit to www.chambersnakeoiltour.org reveals how Big Business is deceiving the American public when it makes its case for upending the system that helps keep our water and air clean, consumer products safe, the financial system sound and much more. Website visitors are greeted with a comic rendition of Bayh and Card holding bottles of snake oil, desperately trying to hawk a bogus tonic for which the nation has no use.
Users can click on each bottle and learn the snake oil behind every inflated claim these slick salesmen are peddling. Each page contains the truth behind the lies they are trying to sell including:
Their Snake Oil: Regulations jeopardize American jobs.
The Truth: Regulatory failures led to the Great Recession that resulted in the loss of 8 million jobs. Environmental and industrial standards can spur innovation and grow the industries we need for the future.
Their Snake Oil: Regulations cost too much.
The Truth: The human and economic benefits of public safeguards vastly exceed their costs. Every major new rule has a cost-benefit analysis done before it can move forward
Their Snake Oil: Unelected bureaucrats are churning out regulations without giving any consideration to affected businesses.
The Truth: Public officials are mandated to invite input and participation from business and the public when developing new rules; there are multiple opportunities for engagement.
Their Snake Oil: Regulations unfairly burden small business.
The Truth: Regulations aren’t a threat to small businesses, which have special protections under existing law.
If you hear about this sham road show coming to your town visit www.chambersnakeoiltour.org, click on the Tools link to get some suggestions for a sign to wave in front of the snake oil salesmen (and hopefully any TV cameras in the vicinity), and let them know you are against the effort to take away our vital public safeguards in the name of larger corporate profits and more monstrous CEO salaries.