Monday, January 19, 2009

DeMint's war against the war on toys

Ever heard of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) (pdf)? That was Congress' response to the China/lead paint thing.

Well, there's regulation that protects, then there's regulation that constricts; and finally there's regulation that kills.

And more than a few businesses could be on their last breath because of CPSIA.

Forbes on regulation that constricts (all ea):

the law goes into effect in stages; one key deadline is Feb. 10, when it becomes unlawful to ship goods for sale that have not been tested. Eventually, new kids' goods will all have to be subjected to more stringent "third-party" testing, and it will be unlawful to give away untested inventory even for free.

The first thing to note is that we're not just talking about toys here. With few exceptions, the law covers all products intended primarily for children under 12. That includes clothing, fabric and textile goods of all kinds: hats, shoes, diapers, hair bands, sports pennants, Scouting patches, local school-logo gear and so on.

And paper goods: books, flash cards, board games, baseball cards, kits for home schoolers, party supplies and the like. And sporting equipment, outdoor gear, bikes, backpacks and telescopes. And furnishings for kids' rooms.

And on regulation that kills:

thrift and secondhand stores are not exempt from the law. Although (unlike creators of new goods) they aren't obliged to test the items they stock, they are exposed to liability and fines if any goods on their shelves (or a component button, bolt, binding, etc.) are found to test above the (very low) thresholds being phased in.

And you know how the government's always trying to get more kids reading by showing them ads from Harry Potter and Narnia movies?

Since the law does not exempt books, children's' sections at libraries and bookstores will, at minimum, face price hikes on newly acquired titles and, at worse, may have to rethink older holdings. After all, no one has the slightest idea how many future violations lie hidden in the stacks and few want to play a guessing game about how seriously officialdom will view illegality.

Emily Sheketoff, associate executive director of the American Library Association:

"Either they take all the children's books off the shelves, or they ban children from the library."

Here's the roll call on the Senate vote. 89 approved; 3 said no.

2012 Prospective Candidates Votes:

South Dakota Center John Thune: YES

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker: YES

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint: NO

The only two Senators joining DeMint in opposing the regulation were John Kyle of Arizona and, you guessed it, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

[Hat tip: The Corner]