Who else adds forced arbitration clauses and class-action bans to their contracts? Stockbrokers and investment advisors, that's who. Imagine having a dispute with the firm handling your money and not being able to take them to court -- and instead, having to go to some arbitrator, paid by that firm, and how do you think that works out most of the time? Imagine, also, being banned from coming together with fellow investors who may also be victims of fraudulent or deceptive practices. When did this stop being America? Why must this be a land where corporations can steal your hard-earned money and never face accountability for their actions? Thankfully, H.R. 2998, the Investor Choice Act, would prohibit investment firms from forcing investors into arbitration agreements, and would explicitly ensure that investors can pursue a case in court if they so choose, even after a dispute begins. Like how the bill's sponsor -- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), author of many worthwhile bills since he entered Congress in 2006 -- puts the word "choice" in the bill? Like how the word "choice" refers, for once, to an actual choice actual investors deserve? Public Citizen helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the Investor Choice Act.
Meanwhile, the FDA is writing food safety rules as mandated by the Food Safety and Modernization Act (finally passed by Congress in 2010, after a long delay caused by Sen. Coburn for which I still haven't forgiven him), but they're prepared to write a rule that actually hurts small farmers: they're prepared to mandate that all farmers undergo a "Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Control plan" that could cost $20,000, and trust me, your average local organic farmer doesn't have that money just lying around. Of course the big agricultural corporations do have that money lying around, so they can undergo such testing. Perhaps you're saying: you're against a regulation that would ensure food safety? No, I'm not -- because the FDA's proposal wouldn't ensure food safety: your major food recalls over the last few years haven't come from small or local or organic farmers, but big industrial farms. If the FDA pushes this rule through, they'll slam the little guy while letting the big guy get bigger. It's almost like that's the idea! But the FDA still has to take public comments on its proposal, so the Organic Consumers Association helps you tell the FDA to level the food safety playing field for small farmers.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell our President and our Congress not to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, then Keystone Progress provides one more. Sadly, it isn't just Dick Durbin who's talking about giving in to Republicans -- Virginia Sen. Mark Warner has been on the idiot box rather frequently lately, talking about how Democrats simply have to give some on entitlements. Well, we're "entitled" to Social Security and Medicare, sir, because we worked for it, we fought for it, and we paid into it -- in short, because we earned it. Now he was doing the same song and dance during the last Congress, and he was wrong then -- turns out Democrats don't have to give in on Social Security and Medicare. Turns out, oddly enough, that not "giving in" on Social Security and Medicare is a fairly popular strategy that actually makes voters like Democrats more. No, not being Republicans isn't enough to make people like Democrats -- Democrats have to do something. (Remember, as always, that we could help solve "entitlement" "problems" by passing the Harkin/Begich bills that would strengthen Social Security, and by letting Medicare negotiate its own drug prices.)