Novel Website Exposes U.S. Chamber of Commerce Regulatory Snake Oil Tour

Bayh, Card Revealed as Hucksters Peddling Dangerous Snake Oil

July 25, 2011

Contact: Rich Robinson, Public Citizen, (202) 588-7773 or rrobinson@citizen.org
Brian Gumm, OMB Watch, (202) 683-4812 or bgumm@ombwatch.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ratcheting up its campaign and spending millions of dollars to weaken and eliminate essential public safeguards in the name of “regulatory reform.” Recently, it hired former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and George W. Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card to embark on a “road show” to spread its anti-regulatory gospel.

As an answer to the Chamber’s snake oil tour, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards launched a new website today to serve as an informative and fun online destination where the myths of the hired peddlers are debunked. A visit to www.chambersnakeoiltour.org reveals how Big Business is deceiving the American public when it makes its case for upending the system that helps keep our water and air clean, consumer products safe, the financial system sound and much more.

Website visitors will see Bayh and Card holding bottles of snake oil, desperately trying to hawk a bogus elixir for which the nation has no use.

“The website makes a serious point: the Chamber is selling the American public a ‘remedy’ to a non-existent illness, and its ‘remedy’ could poison a healthy regulatory system, resulting in more toxic toys, unsafe food and tainted water for American families,” said OMB Watch Executive Director Katherine McFate.

Users can click on each bottle and learn what the hucksters are peddling. Each page contains the truth behind the lies they are trying to sell including:

JOBS

Their Snake Oil: Regulations jeopardize American jobs.

The Truth: Regulatory failures led to the Great Recession that resulted in the loss of 8 million jobs. Environmental and industrial standards can spur innovation and grow the industries we need for the future.

COSTS

Their Snake Oil: Regulations cost too much

The Truth: The human and economic benefits of public safeguards vastly exceed their costs. Every major new rule has a cost-benefit analysis done before it can move forward

RED TAPE

Their Snake Oil: Unelected bureaucrats are churning out regulations without giving any consideration to affected businesses.

The Truth: Public officials are mandated to invite input and participation from business and the public when developing new rules; there are multiple opportunities for engagement.

SMALL BUSINESS

Their Snake Oil: Regulations unfairly burden small business

The Truth: Regulations aren’t a threat to small businesses, which have special protections under existing law.

There also is a tool kit that people can use when the Snake Oil tour comes to their town. It has tips on gathering friends, family and co-workers to go to the Chamber’s events, suggested titles for signs to hold up and other useful information to counter the Chamber’s attempts to weaken essential safeguards that serve to protect the most vulnerable among us.

“The home page has a comical picture, but there is nothing funny about what Bayh and Card are trying to do,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “They are attempting to convince people that what the country needs is less oversight of the corporations, but it’s the wrong message at exactly the wrong time. Americans aren’t going to buy Bayh, Card and The Chamber’s snake oil. In the wake of the BP disaster, the Massey mine explosion and the Wall Street crash that threw 8 million people out of work – among other corporate disasters enabled by regulatory failures – Americans will understand that we need stronger, not weaker, controls on Big Business.”

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The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is a coalition of consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, as well as concerned individuals, joined in the belief that our country’s system of regulatory safeguards provides a stable framework that secures our quality of life and paves the way for a sound economy that benefits us all. For more information about the coalition, go to www.sensiblesafeguards.org.