A CBS News report from Andrew Cohen has revealed a tale of corporate gall that shocks the conscience. The report outs a plan by corporations seeking to “reform” the very system they broke. Here are some of the highlights from the report:
Like the child who kills his parents and then begs for mercy because he is an orphan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce now is begging President-elect Barack Obama to protect corporate interests in the nation’s civil litigation system as a way of restoring jobs and bolstering an economy shattered largely (as we now know) by corporate greed and misfeasance.
The Chamber has been pushing tirelessly for decades to rein in plaintiffs’ attorneys (who look to punish corporate negligence or fraud with civil lawsuits), deregulate industry and commerce (we all know how well Wall Street did with its freedom), and nullify important consumer protection laws (like the one in Maine which is allowing smokers to go after tobacco companies for false advertising). The lobbying effort has been national and local, highly-public and super-secret, and devastatingly successful.
Thanks in part to the Chamber and its Orwellian-named Institute for Legal Reform, the Securities and Exchange Commission backed off its scrutiny of screwy deals and schemes, the Congress was lax in its oversight of the mortgage industry, litigators were thwarted or punished, and the White House and Justice Department pushed a legal doctrine (“preemption”) that almost always helped employers over employees.
All of these things, and more policies and practices endorsed by the Institute, helped unshackle the savageries of corporate America and left individuals less protected against an ever-freer and more predatory market.
To read the full report, click here. If you are as appalled as the rest of us, let President-elect Obama, your Senators, and Congressman know that enough is enough, and that you would like them to pass laws that put people first.