According to a Consumers Union survey, 91% of Americans want medical implants tested before they go on the market. I shudder to think what the other 9% thought ("no thanks, I just want medical device corporations to get even richer!"), but one might assume, given the 91% result, that the American people have spoken and that Congress is ready to do their will. Alas, this is not so -- early drafts of the Medical Device User Fee Act reauthorization indicate that Congress doesn't plan to make medical device manufacturers test their devices, despite the fact that over 5% of all cardioverter-defibrillators, for example, cause injury or death in the person they're implanted in. And don't go thinking 5% is small, when that number could very well be 100% of you. So Consumers Union helps you tell your Senators to support consumers more as they reauthorize the MDUFA.
Meanwhile, if you missed last week's alert in re the USDA's attempt to "streamline" the chicken inspection process such that less inspection gets done and more diseases get into your chicken, then America Rights at Work gives you another opportunity to keep more salmonella, E-coli, and feces off your dinner table. I neglected to mention last week that the USDA actually started a "pilot program" letting a few big poultry corporations police themselves in the mid-1990s, and that not even George W. Bush would expand the program after some rather severe criticism from the Government Accountability Office. As happens too often, it seems that just as only Nixon could go to China, only Mr. Obama can let corporate food producers have too much say in what we eat.
Finally, Citizens for Tax Justice has released a report enticingly titled "Who Pays Taxes in America?" No doubt you heard of Erick Erickson's absurd "We Are the 53%" campaign, claiming that just because the poorest 47% of Americans eke out a net negative tax bill from the IRS, then they don't pay any taxes, as if payroll taxes, state taxes, and sales taxes simply don't exist. Well, CTJ's report takes all that into account, and finds that the bottom 20% of income earners pay about 18% of their income in taxes on average, while the top 1% of income earners pay a shade under 30%. That's a far cry from "the poor don't pay any taxes," and if you're me, you know that a bacon double-cheeseburger at Wendy's doesn't cost $159 for someone who makes a hundred times what I make, so taxing the rich at a higher rate than the poor doesn't deprive them of their survival, or their comfort -- or even their ability to make the world a better place.