In his jobs speech on Thursday night, President Obama reiterated his support for maintaining a strong system of public safeguards.
“But what we can’t do — what I will not do — is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients.”
This is good of course, but what the American people have been waiting to see are deeds, not words. Many have been skeptical, especially since the president’s announcement last week that the latest, stronger safeguards on air quality will not be enforced at this time, much to the ire of environmental and many other public interest groups, including Public Citizen.
The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, in which Public Citizen plays a leading role, distributed a press release today supporting the president’s pledge. Said Public Citizen’s President, Robert Weissman:
“The president is absolutely right to reject the choice between jobs and regulatory protections – especially given that regulatory failures in the financial sector led directly to the financial crash and the current jobs crisis, “Weissman said. “However, actions speak louder than words. Corporate interests are engaged in a massive campaign to block, undermine and roll back public health, worker protection, environmental, financial and other regulatory protections. Now Big Business’s allies in Congress are poised to unleash a barrage of legislation that they hope will back the president into a corner. President Obama must push back forcefully against this dangerous agenda and advance standards designed to keep all of us safe and secure.”
One of the fallacies being pushed by Big Business is that regulations are “killing” small businesses. Well, some intrepid reporters at McClatchy found otherwise: In a widely syndicated story, the news service found a much different reality than the economic environment as portrayed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business supporters. It conducted a random survey of small business owners across the country. Its conclusion:
“None of the business owners complained about regulation in their own industries, and most seemed to welcome it.”