Dec. 9, 2013 by Erin Kesler

CPR's Tom McGarity in today's NY Times: President's inequality speech left out regulation

Today, Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and University of Texas law professor Thomas O. McGarity published an op-ed in the New York Times entitled,"What Obama Left Out of His Inequality Speech: Reguation." 

In a speech last week, the President highlighted the problems associated with extreme socio-economic disparity.

But, as McGarity notes in his piece:

There’s a crucial dimension the president left out: the revival, since the mid-1970s, of the laissez-faire ideology that prevailed in the Gilded Age, roughly the 1870s through the 1910s. It’s no coincidence that this laissez-faire revival — an all-out assault on government regulation — has unfolded over the very period in which inequality has soared to levels not seen since the Gilded Age.

History tells us that in periods when protective governmental institutions are weak, irresponsible companies tend to abuse their economic freedom in ways that harm ordinary workers and consumers. The victims are often less affluent citizens who lack the power either to protect themselves from harm or to hold companies accountable in the courts. We are in such a period today.

The laissez-faire revival of the past 35 years was no accident. The protective statutes and liberal common-law doctrines of the late …

Dec. 5, 2013 by Anne Havemann

Late last month, the Center for Progressive Reform revealed that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) waives pollution permit application fees for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the state, and that the agency is far behind in processing such applications. Now we're able to put a number on MDE's decision: MDE is waiving $400,000 in application fees this year alone. And what might it do with that money it's choosing to leave on the table for some reason? It could speed up its delayed permitting process, for one thing.

The CPR report also found that MDE has not registered nearly 30 percent of these farms since the program began three years ago — in great measure because of the backlog in processing permits. Those permits are the best way to limit pollution from large farms, an effort that is absolutely critical to …

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