Little Rock The little people are taking a beating in Trump’s Washington and the rest of America. Behind the curtain while the wildness and rants are on display on stage, the march to unravel rights and protections for regular, low-and-moderate income Americans as citizens and consumers is relentless.
Vice-President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote this week in a gift to big and small corporations, banks, Wall Street, and sneaky, fast dealers everywhere to allow corporations to use the fine print to force consumers to arbitrate any grievances with a company, rather than allowing them to collectively join with other consumers, similarly afflicted, in a class action lawsuit. In a classic example of double speak, corporate lobbyists claimed on the basis of the few arbitration awards that consumers won more money. The cumulative total though was $500,000 for the total arbitration awards versus over $1 billion for the class action settlements. Talk about taking advantage of short attention spans and American math deficiencies, wow!
In another example of how outrageous everything is getting, the Illinois Attorney General sued to stop a payday lending sketch outfit in that state and elsewhere from forcing workers making less than $13 per hour from having to sign non-compete clauses if they left the company, essentially blocking one of the few powers workers had there: the threat of exit. Sure they can leave, but they can’t use the skills they developed in that job in any related company. The feds are asleep at this switch, but some 18 state legislatures have passed similar non-compete allowances for companies.
Trying to hang on to your health insurance, lower drug and medical prices, and a bit of protection from the Affordable Care Act for your family? Sure, you are, and why wouldn’t you, but understand the odds. A report says that the pharmaceutical, hospital and health industry spent half a billion dollars for lobbying last year. It won’t be enough to save your loose change. You better find some friends. A lot of them! They’re running it, and we’re running from it.
Consumers, regular citizens, workers, and others just need to realize our line for the next three years starts at the back…way back! The FCC says media conglomerates can own radio, TV, and newspapers in the same markets in coming years: one voice will become the only voice. Federal lands are being opened for extraction and 77 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico are going up for the highest bidding for oil exploration, while the market is glutted. Environmental regulations are being rolled back so fast we will be lucky to be able to drink water or breath air. And, the beat goes on.
While we’re watching the reality-horror show and pinching ourselves that this all can’t be happening, the corporate lobbyists and the haterators are stealing the country away from us, piece by piece, day by day.