SOTU & “Reforms”

From up here on the North Coast, it doesn’t seem like there were any surprises in Fearless Leader’s SOTU address.

He seems to be continuing his unending efforts to make sure that no employer in America will have any responsibility whatsoever for any of their employees. The administration’s vision for the American worker is less employer provided health insurance, weaker workplace rules, and less employer participation Social Security. 

This Regime doesn’t want the economy is held back by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims. So the President urged Congress to pass legal reforms this year that will ensure that American corporations are never again held accountable for injuries to the public or their  customers. This Administration wants to make sure that American corporations will never be held responsible for any damage their production methods or defective products may do to the environment or any individuals.

As usual, here in California we are already ahead of the curve.

Under the misleading rubric of "reform" an initiative was successfully passed that seriously weakens our consumer law. An individual can no longer can bring an unfair business practice action unless actual loss or injury can be proven and the case can be certified as a class action. 

This is a HUGE win for California business.  While it is true that there were a handful of law firms that specialized in bringing actions under California’s consumer law that pretty much amounted to blackmail, the answer was to go after the small number of attorneys who were abusing the system.  But since there’s practically nobody minding the store at the California State Bar, the solution was to gut the consumer law. ( I did the "Bar Cases" at a large DA’s office for a year or so.)

I also worked for a number of years as an investigator for one the largest local consumer protection and anti-trust units in the state, and my experience was even before the law was weakened, only a minute fraction of serious, workable cases reported were ever actually prosecuted by anyone.  The District Attorney and Attorney General are elected officials and difficult cases with political/donor issues just don’t go anywhere.

On the brighter side, after this current run of right-wingers finally runs it course, the damage done by these guys will probably swing back toward the opposite side of the spectrum by "reformers" from the left-wing side of the house.


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