Consumer Protection

Is our food safe? What about the drugs we take? The cars we drive and the products we buy? Are the banks, credit card companies and lenders dealing fairly with us? In each case, federal agencies are charged with making sure the answer is “yes.” But examples of unsafe products and unfair practices abound in the marketplace.

For years, General Motors hid from regulators evidence that an ignition switch the company used in its Cobalts, Opels, Pontiacs, and Saturns had such a hair trigger that a light brush by the driver’s hand or knee would shut down the engine, disabling air bags and power steering. The resulting loss of control caused at least 13 fatal accidents. GM's ability to avoid detection for so many years says as much about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's weak enforcement record as anything.

Other examples abound. From tainted peanut butter to toxic drywall, to lead-laden imported toys, such instances of unsafe food, drugs, automobiles and products are all too dangerous evidence of a failed system of regulation and enforcement. Often the failure is the result of neglect – a lack of political will to spend the money required to conduct meaningful research and enforcement. Sometimes the cause is ideological: a conviction that safeguards interfere unduly with industry profits. Either way, the result is that industry is spared the costs of being accountable for unsafe production practices, shifting those costs instead to consumers in the form of injuries, illness and worse.

Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say about it in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

Beware Compounded Drugs -- Especially Under Trump’s FDA

Writing for The American Prospect, Rena Steinzor observes that a burgeoning and little-regulated private industry that specially mixes drugs at so-called compounding pharmacies poses a public-health hazard that the Trump administration will only make worse.

Type: Op-Eds (Dec. 8, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Rena Steinzor
Wave of Corporate Wrongdoing Demands More Prosecution, Not Less

Writing for the Huffington Post, Rena Steinzor and Dan Dudis point to a recent wave of corporate criminality -- from the Wells Fargo fake account scandal to the Volkswagen scheme to evade air pollution standards -- and call for criminal prosecutions of companies and their leaders.

Type: Op-Eds (Nov. 30, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Rena Steinzor
The Truth About Torts: Regulatory Preemption at the Federal Aviation Administration

The Truth About Torts: Regulatory Preemption at the Federal Aviation Administration, CPR Paper 1608, by CPR Member Scholars Thomas McGarity, Nina Mendelson, Sidney Shapiro, and CPR Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin and CPR Policy Analyst Mollie Rosenzweig

Type: Reports (Nov. 28, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Nina Mendelson, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin, Mollie Rosenzweig
Coalition Comments on 'Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances' Rule

Coalition comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on proposed rules to align its regulations for new chemical uses with OSHA rules.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Nov. 21, 2016)
Read PDF
Comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau re its proposal to limit the use of forced arbitration

Comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau re its proposal to limit the use of forced arbitration from Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin, and Mollie Rosenzweig, August 22, 2016. 

Type: Letters to Agencies (Aug. 22, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Martha McCluskey, Sidney Shapiro, Mollie Rosenzweig, James Goodwin, Thomas McGarity
Comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at Stakeholder Meetings on Chemical Risk Evaluation and Prioritization Rulemakings

Comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at Stakeholder Meetings on Chemical Risk Evaluation and Prioritization Rulemakings by Katie Tracy

Type: Letters to Agencies (Aug. 9, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Katie Tracy
Barack Obama's Path to Progress in 2015-16: Thirteen Essential Regulatory Actions [UPDATED]

In 2014, the Center for Progressive Reform issued a report identifying 13 key regulatory actions that the Obama administration should be certain to finish before June of 2016, in order to ensure that the rules would 1) make it out of the regulatory pipeline during Obama's tenure, and 2) be finalized in time to be safe from repeal by the successor administration. In 2016, CPR followed up to see whether the Obama administration had adopted the necessary sense of urgency. (Read the online version of this report for the 2016 updates.)

Type: Reports (Aug. 1, 2016)
Read PDF Read Online
Author(s): Rena Steinzor, James Goodwin, Matt Shudtz, Anne Havemann
How a hidden clause helps banks and others rip you off

Writing in the Charlotte Observer, CPR's Sidney Shapiro urges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to do more to combat forced arbitration. May 12, 2016

Type: Op-Eds (May 12, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Sidney Shapiro
Dangerous Bedfellows: The stalemate on criminal justice reform.

Writing for The American Prospect, Rena Steinzor takes note of the unusual roll call of supporters for criminal justice reform legislation, and efforts by conservatives to use the bill to weaken enforcement of white-collar crime laws.

Type: Op-Eds (May 11, 2016)
Read PDF
Author(s): Rena Steinzor

Advanced Search Filters

Reset Filters