Missouri Lawmakers Choosing Sides….Business Over Consumers

I’ll bet everyone can agree with this statement: ” There is too much politics in just about everything.”  The general consensus has become that Republicans support businesses and Democrats support consumers.  Frankly, in my opinion, that is not really true all the time, but sometimes it is true to a fault.  Sometimes Democrats give too much leeway to consumers who may have done something stupid that caused their own problem or their own injury.  The flip side of that is that sometimes Republicans turn a blind eye to bad intentions of businesses or injuries caused by businesses.  The net result is that we get laws that just really don’t make sense and are designed to “win” a political position over ensuring that consumers are treated fairly and have a reasonable way to get compensated when businesses do wrong and injure people.

A great example of this is what the Missouri legislature is doing with respect to Missouri’s consumer laws, namely the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.  A recent article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch relayed the story of a woman who purchased a car at a used car lot. The dealer told her that the car was a “good car.”  She bought the car and drove it back and forth to work. When she took it in for an oil change the mechanic found that the floor was basically rusted out and the car was unsafe to drive.  Yet, she still owed the money on the car.  She hired an attorney and was successful in getting the case resolved.  But under the current changes proposed to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, she would likely not be able to prevail on a lawsuit.  You can read the entire article here.

I am a capitalist and believe completely in capitalism.  I want to see businesses thrive and make money because when companies make money they need to hire more people and that puts more people to work.  The more people who are working means people feel better about themselves, are able to care for their families, are able to take nice vacations, purchase products and more taxes are being paid to fund the government.  But, businesses should be run ethically and should be bound by laws.  Businesses should not be able to do whatever they want with no fear of legal reprisals.  Unfortunately, the current crop of legislators in Jefferson City (including our Governor), are so dead set on putting plaintiff lawyers out of business that they have lost sight of why they are there.  They are there to ensure fairness for everyone, not just a select few.

I have always pushed back against people when they say that the Republican party is the party of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.  I am not at all offended by business owners getting rich….I want them to get rich for the reasons I mentioned above.  Successful business owners create jobs and can make lives better for their employees.  But, watching what is happening in Jefferson City now it is hard to defend the Republican Party as a party of the people.  The laws they are implementing are not at all designed to help people, but are, in fact, designed to hurt people.

Unfortunately, most people are all for these laws until they are the ones who get hurt by a business then they think the law is unfair.  But by then, the die is cast and there is nothing that can be done.

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