THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL CONSUMERS WEEK, 1997
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Americans have always had a passion for fairness. It imbues the great charters on which our Nation is founded, and it is the cornerstone of our legal system. Fairness must also form the foundation of the American economy, an economy in which consumers rightly expect a "fair shake": honest transactions and safe, dependable goods and services.
Our economy has changed enormously during the past 200 years, developing from the agrarian system of the 18th century through the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century to the information revolution of our own era. Today, technological innovation is rapidly transforming our relationships with the marketplace and the goods and services we buy. However, despite these dramatic changes, basic consumer values remain the same. Consumers still expect quality and service for their money; they still place great importance on the safety and reliability of the products they buy; and they still want to know that businesses will meet these expectations.
In the days of Adam Smith, when products were less complicated and their quality more easily discerned, caveat emptor was the ruling principle of the marketplace. In today's economy, where the microchip has dramatically altered what we buy and how and where we buy it, products and services are much more complex, and consumers need better information and greater protection to ensure that the marketplace continues to treat them fairly.
The Consumer Bill of Rights, first articulated in President Kennedy's 1962 Special Message to Congress on Protecting the Consumer Interest, has evolved with our economy to meet the changing needs of the American people. Consumers today have the right to safety, the right to information, the right to choice, the right to be heard, the right to consumer education, and the right to service. They also deserve security for any personal information provided during the conduct of a transaction, whether in person or on the Internet. As we observe National Consumer Week, I urge the American people to learn more about their rights as responsible consumers and to reward those businesses that continue to give them a fair shake.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 25 through October 31, 1997, as National Consumers Week. I call upon government officials, industry leaders, and the American people to recognize the vital relationship between our economy and our citizenry, and to join me in reaffirming our commitment to fairness in the marketplace.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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