But some administration allies fear the administration is doing more than keeping a low profile or biding its time — that it is actively reinforcing conservative dogma, at a moment when the jobs report may have created an opportunity to shift the economic debate away from budget imbalances and towards employment. “I understand the constraints of the moment,” says another senior Democrat, “but I’m not sure what’s gained by giving any oxygen to the incorrect idea that fiscal austerity right now would be expansionary.”
As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — one of the largest and most influential big business lobbying groups in the world — fired a letter off to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, telling him to block the regulation of extremely toxic chemicals in consumer plastics. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of such chemicals, the chamber letter declares that that EPA “lacks the sound regulatory science needed to meet the statutory threshold for a restriction or ban of the targeted chemicals.”
A wide body of scientific research has linked these chemicals, including phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), to declining birth rates, stillbirths, and an increasing number of birth defects. Many of the chemicals under review for increased regulation have already been banned in Europe and Canada.
In fact, studies have shown that these plastic chemicals are directly linked to an alarming rate of male genital birth defects such as hypospadias, a condition in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside, rather than at the end, of the penis. A report by the Center for American Progress’ Reese Rushing details many other risks associated with the chemicals slated for regulation.
The Chamber letter to Sunstein is signed by chief lobbyist Bill Kovacs. Why is Kovacs fighting so aggressively to continue to allow birth defect and miscarriage-causing chemicals to be used in household items and food containers? Perhaps it is because the Chamber is heavily funded by some of the largest plastics manufacturers in America. According to investigations by the New York Times and ThinkProgress, Dow Chemical and Proctor & Gamble have contributed millions to the Chamber’s war chest in recent years.
Even a Kenzo* only moderately addicted to Oxycontin will spend thousands of dollars a year on the drug. An Oxy 80 pill costs roughly $50. If the Kenzo snorts just one a day for an entire year, he will spend over $18,000.
And that figure doesn’t include other drug-related expenses. During his junky adventures, a Kenzo is going to purchase at least a few Xanax pills, bags of wet, and eightballs of cocaine. A Kenzo with a truly robust drug habit may need upwards of $40,000 a year just to cover his bases. And, of course, by “cover his bases” I mean “the need to nearly overdose every fucking day.”
With huge narco-expenses, a very small number of Kenzos can actually afford to pay a monthly rent. Therefore, any Kenzo who goes through life happily munching mouthfuls of pills will learn how to be homeless.
*A Kenzo is technically a resident, present or former, of Kensington, the local Junkie Central hood, but it is also refers to a state of mind, like ghetto: “That is so ghetto!” The Kenzos are a fact of life, like taxes. About 40 years ago, Kensington was a nice little blue-collar area with a vibrant strip of local stores, much like the one I live in now — until the factories closed down. Now it’s famous instead for the intersection of Kensington and Somerset avenues, where there’s an open-air, 24/7 drug bazaar. It was recently famous for its serial killer, but once he was caught, city officials went back to ignoring the area’s crime problem and concentrate instead on keeping it from reaching the East Kensington and Fishtown hipsters.