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  • CPSIA, Yet Again

    Posted by David Foster on January 29th, 2011 (All posts by )

    I’ve posted several times about the horrible piece of legislation known as the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, which has been devastating to many small manufacturers–especially makers of children’s clothing, toys, science kits, etc–and homecrafters. (It has also had a malign impact on the children’s book industry and on libraries.) In today’s WSJ, Virginia Postrel has a good article on this legislation and its effects.

    Postrel observes that the recently-enacted Food Safety Modernization Act does a better job than did the CPSIA of exempting small operators from burdensome and unnecessary record-keeping requirements, and attributes this to the fact that the agricultural industry is far better organized from a lobbying standpoint than are the small manufacturers who are impacted by the CPSIA. (Also, the kind of well-connected people for whom grocery shopping is a religious experience are more likely to have concerns about protecting small farmers than about protecting small manufacturers and homecrafters.)

    Many CongressCreatures have reacted to pleas on behalf of those impacted by CPSIA with their signature arrogance–a particularly horrible example, involving Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, here. The sad reality is, as government becomes more and more intrusive into all aspects of the economy, unless you are large enough and/or well-organized-enough to protect yourself politically you will be destroyed. As I said in this post about the fate of the steamboat Delta Queen:

    With ever-more-pervasive government domination of all spheres of life, and the crushing of the spirit of independence among many Americans, I fear that we’ve entered an era in which nothing will be permitted to exist unless it serves the needs/desires of powerful interest groups.

    I expect that the CPSIA has provided a painful and expensive education to those homecrafters and small manufacturers who were politically liberal and have tended to assume that government action is automatically benign.

     

    3 Responses to “CPSIA, Yet Again”

    1. BAP Says:

      “I expect that the CPSIA has provided a painful and expensive education to those homecrafters and small manufacturers who were politically liberal and have tended to assume that government action is automatically benign.”

      Don’t bet on it. There were many who looked at the disaster of socialized healthcare in other countries and still concluded it would be great here because WE are smarter and would do it right.

    2. David Foster Says:

      BAP….I think there’s a big difference between suffering personal financial damage (and in some cases the complete destruction of one’s business), and hearing one’s pleas for mercy contemptuously dismissed by the likes of Jan Scharkowsky, on the one hand, and reading about events in another country, as filtered through media of varying accuracy and bias frameworks, on the other.

      I don’t doubt that there will be some who suffer great damage from CPSIA and continue be doctrinaire librals/leftists, but surely some will have their faith in the idea of government as an idealized parent severely shaken.

    3. BAP Says:

      You have no idea how passionately I hope you are right. But I still think most will fall back on the “it just hasn’t been done right yet” response rather than give up such a foundational (to both lifestyle and ideology) belief.