Weekly Address: President Obama – Ensuring a Fair and Competitive Marketplace

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama discussed the importance of fair competition in the marketplace. The principle of fair competition isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea – it’s an American idea. Over the past eight years, the Obama Administration has taken many actions to keep the marketplace fair, including: defending a free, open, and accessible internet; cracking down on conflicts of interest by making sure professionals who give retirement advice do so in the consumer’s best interest; and – just this week – standing up for beef, pork, and poultry growers when they’re treated unfairly. The President believes our free-market economy only works when there’s competition and rules are in place to keep it fair, open, and honest. That’s what this is all about – ensuring that everyone has a chance to compete by leveling the playing field and keeping the rules clear and consistent.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Ensuring a Fair and Competitive Marketplace

Remarks of President Barack Obama as Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address, The White House, December 17, 2016

Hi, everybody. If you’ve ever played a game of basketball in a gym, or entered a contest in school, or started a small business in your hometown, you know that competition is a good thing. It pushes us to do our best. And you know that a fight is fair only when everybody has a chance to win, when the playing field is level for everybody, and the rules are clear and consistent.

That’s important to our consumers, our workers, our employers, and our farmers. You deserve a fair shake, even though there might be much bigger players in the market. Without a truly competitive marketplace, those big companies can raise costs, or slack off on offering good service, or keep their workers’ wages too low. And in an era when large corporations often merge to form even larger ones, our leaders have an even greater responsibility to look out for us as consumers.

To keep America’s economy growing and America’s businesses thriving, we need to protect the principle of fair competition. That’s not, by the way, a Democratic idea or a Republican idea – it’s an American idea, because it’s the best way to make sure the best ideas rise to the top.

My administration has done a lot to keep the marketplace fair. We defended a free, open, and accessible internet that doesn’t let service providers pick winners and losers. We cracked down on conflicts of interest by making sure professionals who give you retirement advice do so in your best interest, not in theirs. And in the last few months, we’ve made even more progress.

This week, my Department of Agriculture took major steps to protect farmers from unfair treatment by bigger processors. These rules will help swine, beef cattle, and especially poultry growers who have fewer choices in where they sell their products.

This month, the FDA started taking steps to make hearing aids more affordable for more than the nearly 30 million Americans suffering from the frustration of hearing loss. We think people with moderate hearing loss should be able to buy a hearing aid over the counter as easily as you can buy reading glasses at your local pharmacy.

This year we also addressed two other problems that keep workers and wages down: the overuse of non-compete agreements that hurt workers in the job market, and the unfair practices of companies that collude to set wages below the market rate. And we backed new steps, including a law I just signed to fight robot scalpers that artificially drive up ticket prices, and a rule that requires airlines to reimburse your baggage fees if your bags don’t make it to your destination when you do.

Finally, it’s this principle of competition that’s at the very heart of our health reform. In fact, it’s the reason we call it the Affordable Care Act; it makes insurance companies compete for your business, which is helping millions afford the care that helps them get and stay healthy. By the way, it’s open enrollment season right now. You can still sign up on HealthCare.gov until January 31st and get covered for 2017.

Our free-market economy only works when there’s competition. And competition only works when rules are in place to keep it fair and open and honest. Whether you’re building the next big thing or just want to be treated right as a customer, that’s good for you and good for the country.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

~

  6 comments for “Weekly Address: President Obama – Ensuring a Fair and Competitive Marketplace

  1. JanF
    December 17, 2016 at 6:24 am

    President Obama:

    Our free-market economy only works when there’s competition. And competition only works when rules are in place to keep it fair and open and honest. Whether you’re building the next big thing or just want to be treated right as a customer, that’s good for you and good for the country.

  2. JanF
    December 17, 2016 at 8:04 am

    In the News: The latest attack on democracy: changing the rules to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act:

    By rule, reconciliation can only be used for budget-related matters. Many believe the Obamacare regulations have no direct effect on the budget (some conservatives and libertarian health care experts dispute this.) That is why the market reforms were left out of the 2015 repeal bill. The parliamentarian would, therefore, be expected to object to a broader repeal package using reconciliation. But Heritage Action and others have suggested Republicans could vote to override her with a simple majority vote, in essence changing the reconciliation rule.

    If you don’t want to play by the rules, just change them! Just like Mitch McConnell changing the constitution to withhold President Obama’s right to pick a SCOTUS replacement – and in North Carolina where the losers are taking away the rights of the winners – fair play be damned.

  3. JanF
    December 17, 2016 at 9:00 am

    In the News: Repealing the ACA and replacing it with “Universal Access to Health Insurance” … if you can afford it:

    “Our goal here is to make sure that everybody can buy coverage or find coverage if they choose to,” a House leadership aide told journalists on the condition of anonymity at a health care briefing organized by Republican leaders.

    Republicans have an “ironclad commitment” to repeal the law, the aide said, as lawmakers moved to discredit predictions that many people would lose coverage. […]

    The suggestion that 20 million people will lose coverage is a “big lie,” [Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee] said, after meeting here with Republican members of his committee.

    “Republicans,” he said, “will provide an adequate transition period to give people peace of mind that they will have those options available to them as we work through this solution.”

    Hello, doodieheaded Republican! We have a solution for those who need insurance already – the ACA. You are looking for a solution to the damage your repeal will cause – the “big lie” is that you can stop it from happening.

  4. JanF
    December 17, 2016 at 9:34 am

    In the News: Atlantic Ocean Area The Size Of Virginia Protected From Deep-Water Fishing

    Coral in an area in the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Connecticut to Virginia has been protected from deep-sea commercial fishing gear, by a new rule issued this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The protected area covers some 38,000 square miles of federal waters, NOAA says, which is about the size of Virginia. It’s the “largest area in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico protected from a range of destructive fishing gear,” according to the NRDC, an environmental advocacy group.

    The new regulations prohibit the use of bottom-tending fishing gear at depths below 1,470 feet. Boats are allowed to cross the protected area as long as they bring the banned heavy gear on board while they do so, according to the text of the rule. It is set to go into effect on Jan. 13.

    It’s named the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area, in honor the former New Jersey senator who was an advocate for marine conservation.

    Coral grows extremely slowly and is vulnerable to damage from this kind of heavy equipment that drags along the sea floor. As the NRDC put it: “One pass of a weighted fishing trawl net can destroy coral colonies as old as the California redwoods in seconds.”

  5. JanF
    December 18, 2016 at 5:58 am

    Speaking of marketplaces, the White House sent this out yesterday …

    My name is Julia de la Rosa, and I am a Cuban cuentapropista — or Cuban entrepreneur. Over 20 years ago, my husband and I started our own business in Cuba providing lodging and transportation to visitors in our neighborhood in Havana. Everything about my business was on a very small scale: We had two bedrooms and one old car, and we did almost everything ourselves.

    Today marks two years from when the President decided to normalize America’s relationship with my country.

    As a cuentapropista, I watched this historic change help my business grow in ways I would have never expected. The demand for our services dramatically increased with the growing number of visitors, so we had the opportunity to expand. We now run a real bed and breakfast with 10 bedrooms, and have 17 people working with us as we provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Now, we’re starting a small taxi company, as transportation requests have increased — especially in old, classic cars. Thanks to these new times, we can even come to the U.S. to buy pieces to restore our eight American cars.

    And this change has made a difference for Americans, too.

    More than 500,000 Americans visited Cuba last year. Ten U.S. airlines are flying between American and Cuba citizens. And American cruise lines will soon start pulling into our ports. That’s going to mean a lot for Cuba’s development.

    But this new relationship has not only changed my business, it’s changed my life. Like many others Cubans, I have family in the U.S., and thanks to President Obama’s decision to re-establish relations, my biggest dream could finally come true — to travel to Miami to meet my father’s family. I am incredibly grateful to President Obama for his leadership in forging this historic change for the U.S. and Cuba, and for what it will mean to both the Cuban and American people for generations to come.

    Hope to see you in Havana soon,

    Julia

    Julia de la Rosa
    Havana, Cuba

    The White House posted a link to this: Charting a New Course with Cuba: Two Years of Progress

  6. JanF
    December 18, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Earned Benefits Watch Alert: Nominee for OMB is hardliner Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C)

    Government spending and the debt wasn’t a top issue in the 2016 presidential race, something Mulvaney bemoaned on the House floor earlier this year. On his congressional website, Mulvaney states, “It’s disappointing that the discussion about our debt has faded away in the last few years.”

    Unlike Mulvaney and many conservatives in Congress, Trump did not embrace massive changes to Medicare and Social Security and specifically rejected raising the retirement age for the popular programs.

    But Trump’s decision to tap Mulvaney as his director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has changed perceptions of how committed the incoming administration is to reducing the nation’s debt.A review of the bills Mulvaney has introduced reveals a strong appetite to cutting government spending, especially Medicare and Social Security. He has repeatedly pointed out that both entitlement programs are headed for bankruptcy and must be reformed. […]

    The OMB director is one of the most important jobs in Washington. If confirmed by the Senate, Mulvaney will help shape Trump’s budget blueprints and lead the administration’s charge on regulatory reform. Most government agencies cannot issue regulations without OMB’s approval. […]

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripped Mulvaney, highlighting his support for Ryan’s Medicare changes and adding, “We cannot have an OMB director who sees inflicting pain on working families as leverage for his radical agenda.”

    A member of the House Freedom Caucus as OMB director signals that Trump is going right at Medicare and Social Security. Another Trumpian Lie that the #BasketOfGullibles bought hook line and sinker.

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