The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phone: (202) 588-1000

Economic Security, Health and Safety of Nation

Seven national groups join together to reverse slide on pocketbook issues, announce call for White House consumer “czar,” goals for new Congress, challenges for new administration


Leaders of seven of the country's leading public
interest groups are calling for the adoption of six major pro-consumer
priorities, including the reinstatement of the White House Special
Advisor on Consumer Affairs. As the economic crisis deepens, it is
more important than ever for government leaders to deal quickly and
effectively with pocketbook issues affecting every American consumer.
The groups have developed an agenda of
the top issues on which consumers should hold policymakers accountable
in the coming Congress and new administration. The agenda was sent to
President-elect Obama and Congressional leaders.

Leaders of the seven groups - Consumer Federation of
America, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates,
National Consumer Law Center, National Consumers League, Public
Citizen, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, representing
millions of American consumers - have united behind this agenda in
response to increasing risks to consumer rights and protections.

Some recent threats to consumer rights, protections and
standards of living include: the financial crisis and mortgage
meltdown, high and volatile oil prices, growing concerns over the
safety of imports and food, and the rising cost of health care.

As a result of anti-consumer policies in these areas,
the coalition has developed a six-point agenda to highlight some of the
most critical issues facing the American public today. The leaders
noted that Congressional passage of comprehensive Consumer Product
Safety Commission reform this summer was a positive step, suggesting
that Congress may be ready to consider other important consumer reforms.

As the events of recent months have shown, weak
consumer protections don't just harm individual Americans, but the
economy overall. Inadequate laws and poor oversight of credit and
financial services have led to a huge loss of wealth for many American
families and helped trigger an economic recession. This agenda is not
simply a way to protect consumers, but to increase the economic and
health security of the country. The agenda is a key starting point for
raising questions of policymakers about how they intend to protect the
public interest, said the leaders of the seven organizations.

The consumer leaders are intent on continuing to build
an influential consumer movement that will be a powerful force for
change. The six-point agenda includes:

  • Restore the United States Office of Consumer Affairs; Put a Consumer "Czar" In The White House.
  • Rein in Wall Street Excesses, Protect Consumers from Abusive and Predatory Lending.
  • Protect Consumers from Price-Gouging in Oil, Gas and
    Electricity Markets, and Take Steps To Provide Households With Access
    to Alternative Energy and Efficiency.
  • Improve Consumer Access to Justice By Reinstating Legal Rights.
  • Guarantee Safe, High Quality, Affordable Healthcare for Everyone.
  • Ensure our Food and Products are Safe.

READ the complete agenda.

READ the letter to elected officials.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

(202) 588-1000