A voice for the consumer

Source: New York Times (Free Registration)

The time has come to give the American consumer a much stronger voice in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama has already named what amounts to an energy and environmental czar in the White House, and America’s beleaguered consumers deserve no less. Mr. Obama should restore the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, which vanished during the Clinton years, and appoint a director who has both the president’s ear and the authority to rebuild the consumer protection agencies that were undercut or hollowed out by the fiercely anti-regulatory Bush administration. There is no shortage of agencies ostensibly designed to protect consumers. But without an emergency like killer spinach or lead in children’s toys, the Bush administration has mostly failed to hear customers’ complaints. The consumer safety net is simply far too weak.

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