Category Archives: Consumption / Consumer Protection

New Report: How Marriott’s Corporate Practices Fuel Growing Racial Inequality in America

New Report: Amy Traub & Julia Gunn, How Marriott’s Corporate Practices Fuel Growing Racial Inequality in America (Demos 2018).


News Coverage: Millions of Carolina Homes Are at Risk of Flooding. Only 335,000 Have Flood Insurance

News Coverage: Mary Williams Walsh, Millions of Carolina Homes Are at Risk of Flooding. Only 3350,000 Have Floor Insurance,, Sept. 21, 2018.

“The math is simple, and the result is ugly: Many people affected by the storm are going to have to pay for repairs to their damaged homes out of their own pockets.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the same thing happened last year after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and, to a lesser extent, after Hurricanes Irma in Florida and Maria in Puerto Rico.”

News Coverage: Ryan Zinke to the oil and gas industry: “Our government should work for you”

News Coverage: Umair Irfan, Ryan Zinke to the oil and gas industry: “Our government should work for you”,, Sept. 21, 2018.

The interior secretary’s latest gaffe was a pledge of allegiance to fossil fuels.

News Coverage: EPA analysis of its own new climate proposal: thousands of people will die

News Coverage: Umair Irfan, EPA Analysis of its own new climate proposal: thousands of people will die,, Aug. 21, 2018.

News Coverage: 8 Ways the Next Round of China Tariffs Could Pinch Consumers

News Coverage: Deborah B. Solomon & Mikayla Bouchard, 8 Ways the Next Round of China Tariffs Could Pinch Consumers,, Aug. 21, 2018.

New Article: Constructing Citizenship: Exclusion and Inclusion Through the Governance of Basic Necessities

New Article: K. Sabeel Rahman, Constructing Citizenship: Exclusion and Inclusion Through the Governance of Basic Necessities, Columbia L. Rev. Vol. 119, Forthcoming (2018). Abstract below:

While income inequality has become an increasingly central focal point for public policy debate and public law scholarship, systemic inequality and exclusion are produced not just by disparities in income but rather by more hidden and pernicious background rules that systematically disadvantage and subordinate constituencies. This paper focuses on a particularly crucial — and often underappreciated — site for the construction and contestation of systemic inequality and exclusion: the provision of, and terms of access to, basic necessities like water, housing, or healthcare. We can think of these necessities as “public goods” in a broader moral and political sense: these are foundational goods and services that make other forms of social, economic, or political activity possible, and thus carry a greater moral and political importance. This paper argues that the way in which we administer these essential public goods represents one of the major ways in which law and public policy constructs systemic forms of inequality and exclusion. Conversely, the paper also argues that promoting equality and inclusion requires a more inclusionary approach to the administration of these public goods.

In Part I the paper develops the central theoretical argument that the provision of and access to basic necessities constitutes a central vector for structural inequality and exclusion — and more broadly, for the moral ideals of inclusion, equality, and citizenship itself. The importance of these public goods makes communities subordinate and vulnerable to those actors that can exert control over these goods. This normative critique parallels historical efforts to secure greater economic and social citizenship in part by contesting the power of actors that control infrastructure, from the Progressive Era fights over public utilities to civil rights battles over public accommodations. Part II then identifies three specific patterns of structural exclusion produced through the maladministration of these public goods: bureaucratic exclusion, fragmentation, and privatization. These three strategies are more subtle than direct denial of access; they represent a kind of “second-order” exclusion operating through background rules of governance and administration. Part III then imagines what a more inclusionary governance regime built to prevent these more subtle forms of exclusion would look like. Here the paper identifies three particular strategies for inclusionary administration of public goods: expanded enforcement authority; greater governmental accountability; and direct public provision.

Finally, Part IV of the paper links this exploration of structural inequality, exclusion, and public goods to broader debates in public law scholarship. First, this focus on public goods represents an important application and extension of the recently renewed interest in inequality and “constitutional political economy,” suggesting a concrete legal and institutional context in which the normative ideas and historical narratives developed in this literature can have purchase. Second, the focus on public goods also provides greater weight and context to current debates over the “deconstruction” of administrative agencies, particularly in context of economic inequality and racial and gender exclusion.

News Coverage: ‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans

News Coverage of Poverty: Tara Siegel Bernard, ‘Too Little, Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans,, August 5, 2018.

Newsflash: The War on Poverty is Not Won — Recent commentary on how far we still have to go in the fight against poverty


When hunger is increasing in many urban areas and when poverty is increasingly concentrated post Recession, is the War on Poverty won? When women and children, particularly people of color, endure poverty at disproportionate and growing rates, that statement is just a cruel assertion from the Trump administration, aimed at making it easier to slap work requirements on the poor.

News Coverage: Alfred Lubrano, Is the War on Poverty ‘a success’ as the Trump administration proclaims?, July 27, 2018.

News Coverage: Kriston Capps, The ‘War on Poverty’ Isn’t Over, and Kids are Losing,, July 18, 2018.

News Coverage: Robert L. Fischer, Why the War on Poverty Isn’t Over, in 4 Charts,, July 20, 2018.

Op-Ed: Renée Loth, Trump declares victory in the war on poverty to punish the poor,, July 20, 2018.

Op-Ed: Gregory Acs, Have we won the War on Poverty? Not yet, The Urban Institute, July 26, 2018.

Op-Ed: Will Bunch, No, Trump administration, we didn’t ‘win’ the War on Poverty,, July 19, 2018.


News Coverage: DeVos Proposes to Curtail Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

News Coverage: Erica L. Green, DeVos Proposes to Curtail Debt Relief for Defrauded Students,, July 25, 2018.

In frightening news, Secretary DeVos plans to make it harder for the victims of fraudulent for-profit colleges — disproportionately people of color — to seek redress.

New Op-Ed: Chocolate is a luxury. The people who produce it live in extreme poverty

cocoa_opedNew Op-Ed: Hans Theyer, Chocolate is a luxury. The people who produce it live in extreme poverty, Wash. Post, July 7, 2018.