It’s a good thing for American consumers that Pres. Barack Obama was reelected Tuesday.
Although the Obama administration doesn’t always do what it could or should for consumers, such as in the regulation of toxic chemicals and prescription drugs, what it is willing to do beats the Republican agenda substantially. For example, repealing the Affordable Health Care Act, slashing financial consumer protections, and voucherizing Medicare aren’t in the best interest of the nation’s families.
Other positive election results
The election of Elizabeth Warren to the U.S. Senate. I’ll never forget when Warren was passed over to head the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because Republicans said they wouldn’t confirm her appointment. A friend said Republicans might have made a mistake because she could run for Congress in Massachusetts and win. He was right.
Warren envisioned the bureau and was its acting director. As a consumer champion, she will fight against the big banks and Wall Street and work to strengthen Dodd-Frank and other financial reform legislation.
Retaining a Democratically controlled Senate. The League of Conservation Voters is among the organizations that worked on this effort.
California tax increase to ease state budget woes. California voters approved Proposition 30, which raises more than $6 billion in annual tax increases for education, parks, and disability and other programs.
Genetically engineered food labeling. In California, Proposition 37, which would have required the labeling of genetically engineered food, was voted down. Opponents of the measure spent about $45 million to defeat it.
Renewable energy. Proposition 3, a measure that would have increased Michigan’s renewable electricity target to require that 25 percent of power come from clean sources by 2025, was defeated.
While there are many challenges facing the country, here are some important ones for consumers:
Reform of the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Although a Senate committee passed a bill earlier this year, action on reforming the regulation of toxic chemicals has stalled. See a statement by the Environmental Working Group for information on this legislation.
Increasing the effectiveness of programs to help prevent mortgage foreclosure. While a number of programs are in place, more needs to be done to help millions of consumers facing foreclosure. See the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s Homeowner Crisis Resource Center webpage for resources on avoiding foreclosure.
Jobs and the economy. While Wall Street and the auto industry got their bailout, I think more needs to be done to help Main Street. Also, President Obama needs to address poverty and create and strengthen programs to help lift people out of poverty.
Climate change and environmental issues. Hurricane Sandy shows communities need to be protected from extreme weather disasters, droughts, heat waves, and other dangerous consequences of global warming. See a statement by the Environmental Defense Fund on this issue.