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Wall Street Journal – Bush Rule Changes Could Block Product-Safety Suits

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I don’t get it, why do so called conservatives dislike consumer protections so much? This isn’t conservatism, it’s a neocon movement of big business and big pharmaceuticals to rewrite consumers ability to hold them to account for lying, cheating and harming the public.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “Bush administration officials, in their last weeks in office, are pushing to rewrite a wide array of federal rules with changes or additions that could block product-safety lawsuits by consumers and states.

The administration has written language aimed at pre-empting product-liability litigation into 50 rules governing everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The latest changes cap a multiyear effort that could be one of the administration’s lasting legacies, depending in part on how the underlying principle of pre-emption fares in a case the Supreme Court will hear next month.”

Of particular interests is that just this year, the article reports that 10 new regulations, including one issued Oct. 8 at the Department of Transportation that limits the number of seatbelts car makers can be forced to install and prohibits suits by injured passengers who didn’t get to wear one.

Now if your thinking a new President, from either party can undo this harm, the article reports that it can’t be done easily.

What is most funny is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform which spending on these issues drafts that of Trial Lawyers is supporting this as part of its campaign to "neutralize plaintiff trial lawyers’ excessive influence over the legal and political systems," according to its Web site.

Talk about influence, check this: The chamber itself, which represents millions of businesses of all sizes, is the biggest spender on the lobbying. In 2006, it spent $72.7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group that tracks money in politics. On the trial lawyers’ side, the American Association for Justice spent $8.3 million that year.

The article states that Bush wants this to be one of his lasting legacies. Now I’m not one who has ever piled on the President even when I should have. That said, with the war on terrorism, war in Iraq, economic troubles et al, this is what Bush wants to be one of his lasting legacies? That legacy would be denying injured people compensation by virtue of laws aimed at defending the uber-rich corporations.