Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CPSIA - In Memory of Harrison Bergeron

One of my great frustrations with the CPSIA is its presumption that all children's product manufacturers are identical and none can be trusted to operate responsibly without vigorous government oversight. The CPSC, under the direction of the CPSIA and Congressional zealots from the Democratic Party, are developing identical safety and business administration processes for all businesses making children's products, notwithstanding an absence of data confirming hazards (think books, bikes, ATVs, pens, educational products). This lowest common denominator approach is one of the main sources of increased expense for businesses like ours. And, unfortunately, this offense of government intrusiveness adds no value to our safety efforts despite the self-congratulations of the Democrats leading the charge in Congress and at the CPSC.

Why don't I want to be like everyone else? Why don't I want the government to tell me how to run my business "better"? Of course, the CPSC has absolutely no idea how to effectively operate our business. Even more importantly, the CPSC's voluminous new rules misappropriate the value of our innovations and know-how. We taught ourselves how to efficiently assure the quality of our products - that's how we achieved our enviable safety record over a quarter century. The fact that we can do it at a low cost does not make us bad people - this is an economic advantage we should be entitled to capture and use. The CPSC has written rules to take that advantage away. This policy is un-American and profounding anti-small business. We are no longer able to compete with larger companies by being smarter or fleeter-of-foot.

By making everyone "equal" (forcing adoption of government-designed and government-approved procedures), Democrats like Inez Tenenbaum and Bob Adler now prohibit our company from prospering from hard work, innovation and investment in productivity and efficiency. The Dems' justification is that they know what's best for us and for all American consumers. Other than bravado, this assertion has no basis in fact. Even the very existence of the "crisis" they seek to avert (with our money) is very much in doubt.

If I am wrong, someone should show me DATA to prove it.

To protect the public from imaginary crises, our government just wants everyone to be equal. Kurt Vonnegut addressed this approach to government regulation in his dark short story "Harrison Bergeron". The set-up for the tragic story of Harrison Bergeron is simple - and familiar:

"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General."
The CPSC seems eager to be our industry's U.S. Handicapper General, driven by the CPSIA and the Waxmanis.

In "Harrison Bergeron", all individuality has been eradicated by law. Those who by the grace of G-d or through their own efforts crafted some form of advantage were reduced to the lowest common denominator by the H-G. Resentment of successful people is called the Tall Poppy Syndrome in some countries. Ironically, people in the U.S. tend to admire the successful and seek to emulate them. The CPSIA takes an opposite tack - Mother Government knows best and safety innovation must be illegal. We need "standards". The Tall Poppies can't be trusted.

I hate to feel like Harrison Bergeron. The bad feelings sting all the worse because I know that the "crisis" is imaginary and has been coopted for political and populist advantage. This is an awful justification for destroying our lives' work. Even more demoralizing, we have already proven our expertise in supply chain management and quality control/compliance over many years. No matter. The CPSC knows best.

Something's VERY wrong here. Is it any wonder that there is anti-incumbency rage in this country now?

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