Without any public hearings, Congress rushed to pass a tax “reform” law that will likely cause the largest redistribution of wealth in the nation’s history. In particular, tax rates for country’s most wealthy individuals and corporations will be slashed permanently. Corporate leaders have already declared that the windfall they receive will not be used to increase compensation to existing employees or to hire additional employees. Mainline economic analysts also acknowledge that the tax “reform” law will create potentially substantial imbalances in, and corresponding problems for, the economy moving forward.
The radical cut in taxes for the richest individuals and the largest corporations necessarily means funding for essential public services will also be reduced. Consequently, enforcement agencies, such as the United States Department of Labor, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, will have less staff and resources to enforce labor, employment, and civil rights laws in the future. Without adequate funding for these agencies, significant wage theft, retaliation against whistleblowers and others standing up for the rule of law, safety violations, sex harassment, and additional abuses could go unaddressed by the government.
Under such circumstances, the role of those targeted for legal violations becomes more important than ever. People who challenge wage theft, retaliation against whistleblowers and others standing up for the rule of law, safety violations, sex harassment, or other abuses serve as private attorneys general – that is, they prosecute their claims in the public interest through private attorneys like those at Cummins & Cummins, LLP. To encourage this vital public service, the law enables people who pursue claims as plaintiffs to recover money for all damages suffered – including potentially emotional distress damages, double or treble damages, and punitive damages. Such private litigation in the public interest can be even more powerful when prosecuted as a collective action and/or as a class action.