CPSIA chronicles, March 30

by Walter Olson on March 30, 2009

  • We all know that politicians’ sententious pronouncements about the needs of the poor often ring hollow. But are our elected officials truly unaware of the role thrift shops play in the lives of those trying to raise families with no margin of financial safety? Valerie Jacobsen and Deputy Headmistress have both blogged movingly on the subject, and the latter is back today with a must-read post recalling the morning when her own family unexpectedly expanded through adoption overnight from three children to five:

    We had no clothes for them, no beds, no presents; nothing was in readiness for them, except our hearts (and even those needed some sprucing up). They came on a Friday. We went shopping on a Saturday. Where did we go shopping? Thrift shops, of course. We had an immediate and urgent need for clothing, toys, and bedding for two new children, and we lived on an enlisted man’s salary. It was only two weeks before Christmas. The thrift shop enabled us to fill the gap between our income and our needs.

    Now families that rely on thrift stores are in trouble from coast to coast: Salem and Marblehead, Mass. (“Throwing away perfectly good clothing”); Nantucket, Mass. (imagine being a landscaper or laundry person trying to raise a kid on that expensive island); Herkimer, N.Y. (“new motto, ‘When in doubt, throw it out'”); Beaver County, Pa.; Imperial, Neb.; Denver, Colo.; San Luis Obispo, Calif. (“I say, ‘Just try to pass the toys down through your family or give them to friends,’”); The Garden Island (Kauai, Hawaii)(via CLC and CPSIA). Some background from NARTS (National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops), which is doing a CPSIA Impact Survey of its members.
    bostonbeansredridinghood2

  • The Wall Street Journal editorializes about the law again today, aiming its main attack at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who “won’t admit a mistake and fix the law“.
  • Quite the video on the minibike ban, with youth road racing champion Josh Serne, at AmendTheCPSIA.com. Amateur MX has photos from the Malcolm Smith rally. More powersports coverage: Rochester area, N.Y.; Albany/Hudson Valley, N.Y.; McHenry County, Ill.; Associated Press.
  • James Leroy Wilson at DownsizeDC: “What is Congress doing about it? Canceling hearings.” And Amy Ridenour, National Center: “Outrage of the Day: Waxman Drags Feet on Needed CPSIA Reform”.
  • “It’s on the books, and that’s the problem for libraries across North Texas,” reported Dallas’s CBS 11 earlier this month (via Rick Woldenberg). Per Fox Albany, the Albany Public Library and the library in suburban Guilderland each estimate that they would have to discard around 10,000 older children’s books if an exemption is not made available. Guilderland library director Barbara Nichols Randall says her institution on average weeds out about 1,600 books a year on average currently, which of course does not mean that they exclusively target the oldest books for weeding. Albany library director Timothy Burke foresees the results at his library as “10,000 fewer books for kids to use”.
  • velveteenrabbit

  • Carter Wood at ShopFloor thinks what’s happening with vintage books is reenacting the story of the Velveteen Rabbit:

    And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire, only the gardener was too busy just then to attend to it. He had the potatoes to dig and the green peas to gather, but next morning he promised to come quite early and burn the whole lot.

  • Candy Corn Studios makes an important point: “Children have access to dozens of small items that were never intended for children.” If grandpa takes the kids out fishing, there’s no law (yet) forcing him to keep the lead sinkers in his tackle kit under lock and key. Meanwhile, purely notional risks that have never been linked to any real-world instances of poisoning are used as the excuse for turning real people’s lives compulsorily upside down.
  • Attorneys Michael B. Goldsmith and Jay L. Silverberg of Sills Cummis: “No legislation in recent memory has engendered more confusion and consternation than the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008… There continues to be tremendous disruption, confusion and concern in a variety of industries affected by the CPSIA.” Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a long-time non-favorite at this site, thinks the main problem with the law is that it’s not being enforced enthusiastically enough.
  • And don’t forget the rally in Washington Wednesday (buttons and banners, list of rally speakers, including many familiar from this space).

{ 4 comments }

1 Richard Nieporent 03.30.09 at 10:41 am

But are our elected officials truly unaware of the role thrift shops play in the lives of those trying to raise families with no margin of financial safety?

Yes they are really concerned about these people. Don’t expect their response to be anything other than “Let them eat cake”!

2 Mich R 03.31.09 at 2:00 am

Not only are they unaware, but they couldn’t care less. Dealing with the CPSIA has become a matter of pride for Congress, at this point. There is no denying that the legislation is inherently flawed, but to acknowledge that, and work towards Congressional rehab of the CPSIA, would be to admit that no one in Congress performed any due diligence when the bill was up for vote, anincluding small business and economic impact studies.
An admission of that magnitude would be indicative of just how out of touch and truely uninvolved in the real world, Congress really is.
How can they be bothered to even read the proposed legislation (especially during an election year), let alone investigate its possible impact, when there are naps to take and tweets to make during Session?

3 Walker 03.31.09 at 3:55 am

Not sure if this comment made it through or not. So I just thought I’d be careful.

In case you’re interested, Charles Henry over at Covenant Zone has been going to town on the whole CPSIA thing lately:

http://covenantzone.blogspot.com/2009/03/cpsia-update-gaming-system-instead-of.html

http://covenantzone.blogspot.com/2009/03/cpsia-update-video-of-malcolm-smith.html

http://covenantzone.blogspot.com/2009/03/good-news-about-bad-news-cpsia-is.html

http://covenantzone.blogspot.com/2009/03/senator-tom-self-revs-up-motorbike-fans.html

If this comment already published, sorry. Feel free to delete one of them.

Cheers!

4 William Nuesslein 03.31.09 at 8:18 am

There is so much gnashing of teeth about lobbyists, but a much larger problem comes from activists. The Chinese toys scare was whipped up by activists. I argued at the time that paints bind so strongly to plastic that the chance of any child being hurt by the paint was non-existent. It turned out worse than I said as the lead paint was de minimis in amount too. Some lead nuts have convinced our lawmakers that any lead, no matter how small is dangerous. Senator Durbin, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Patty Murray, etc are good people who just can’t comprehend the concepts of exposures and dose. That form of stupidity is nearly universal. Children have died in airplane crashes, but Mrs. Murray doesn’t want to ban flight for children under 12. After all, Boeing is in her state.

As bad as the CPSIA is, it does not hold a candle to the anti GM food campaign. Those nuts are damming Asian and African children by the tens of thousands to blindness. And let’s not forget the $5 billion cost to dismantle Shoreham nuclear plant to placate Andrew Cuomo and his playmates.

Comments on this entry are closed.