July 05, 2005

American Consumers Shafted Again by Congress

Our representatives in Congress can't help themselves. It's not enough to oppose minimum wage increases. It's not enough to attempt to privatize social security. It's not enough to limit jury awards against corporate wrongdoing. It's not enough to restrict people who have suffered from business losses, huge medical bills, family deaths, or other catastrophic events from seeking the protection of bankruptcy. The US Congress now has repealed a law which has been in place since 1935 designed to protect Americans against public utility abuses which were a major cause of the financial collapses of that era.

The repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) by both the House and the Senate is just another in a long line of reactionary, corporate-sponsored votes by the US Congress, ignoring history, destroying consumer protections, and undoing controls on corporate greed. The press has its head buried so far in the muck of its ignorance and irresponsibility, it doesn't notice this, or it doesn't care, or it willingly looks the other way. In a short piece by Lynn Hargis for Truthout, using the Chinese attempt to buy Unocal as context, she explains the consequences of its repeal, and describes the links to America's biggest utilities investors, men like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

A superb background piece on the PUHCA is available at the site of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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