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How Trump has trumped your rights

slide2.pngPolicy changes happen so regularly in government that it oftentimes does not cause great concern. Since Donald Trump has taken office, every policy that has been suggested or imposed has received fierce backlash from a majority of the country. He has started to fulfill his campaign promise in regards to cutting funding for the EPA, slashing regulations at the CDC and FDA, and attempting to delete Obama-care from existence.

As a businessman, it is no surprise that Donald Trump sees government regulations as the enemy of business. “It is estimated that current overregulation is costing our economy as much as $2 trillion a year,” Trump stated. “I will ask each and every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on Americans which are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs. Those regulations will be eliminated.” 

The EPA, which has already faced deep budget cuts and a hiring freeze, continues to be on President Trump’s radar. On April 19, it was reported that President Trump planned on closing a regional office based in Chicago. The Region 5 office serves six states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, as well as overseeing major environmental cleanup projects, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This office has also provided some assistance to residents during the Flint water crisis in the past.

 "Any attempt by this administration to close any US EPA regional office will further cripple environmental protection efforts, while also sending a clear signal to polluters to further contaminate the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Puget Sound, as well as our rivers, streams and wetlands," said AFGE Local 704 President John O'Grady, whose union represents EPA employees.

 The EPA is not the only thing on the chopping block; consumer's legal rights are as well. President Trump is targeting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has recovered over $11.8 billion for consumers. Government laws are designed to protect consumers’ legal rights by allowing them to see damages from companies and manufacturers selling products that have caused them harm. If Trump dissolves the CFPB, consumers’ rights could be in danger.

 One of the most telling examples for the need for consumers’ legal rights includes asbestos. Once touted as a miracle material, there are now a number of lawsuits linking it to a terminal form of lung cancer calledMesothelioma. Currently, much like asbestos and Mesothelioma, there is a possible connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Although evidence has been around since the early 1970’s, the first guilty verdict was only handed out to Johnson and Johnson in 2013. Since then, four more talcum powder lawsuit victories followed in 2016, resulting in over $300 million in damages to be paid by J&J.

These are the protections that have been built for consumers. Both the EPA and the CFPB are in place to protect, not harm. If these regulations are scaled back, or worse, dissolved, there will be no safety net to keep corporations in check. While deregulation would most likely result in a rise in injuries and deaths from products, the greater risk would be removing consumers’ rights to sue, and this is a real possibility under Trump’s watch.