Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CPSIA - 500th Post on CPSIA . . . Now What?

756 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 55 days left until Election Day.

I have been blocked for a little while on the occasion of my 500th post in this blog. I have been prattling on the subject of the CPSIA for almost two years now. To be perfectly honest, this is a sad occasion for me. I have invested a great deal of time and money attempting to do my citizen's duty to help our government govern better. Now, after 500 posts, an appearance before a House subcommittee, several appearances on the CPSC panels, numerous comment letters, personal meetings and phone calls, a historic rally, and literally countless media appearances, it appears that we have reached a dead end. It appears that Democrats are unable to understand or accept anything I have ever said on virtually any subject.

As I have been noting, and as I will continue to note, the Democrats have been resolute and united in ignoring our pleas, our evidence and our data, all documenting the CPSIA's fatal flaws. Even with a stagnant economy, there is scant recognition among Dems that this law is a cause of any ills. It's not like they haven't been warned of the economic impact of the CPSIA. They have been warned repeatedly but determinedly stood still, insensitive to our needs and to the harm our OWN GOVERNMENT is inflicting on us.

I must say the entire experience leaves me slack-jawed. For example, I was recently reviewing my experiences with Illinois State legislators about the noxious and stupid Illinois lead labeling law. I met with our State Rep in May 2008 and complained about both the then pending Illinois law as well as the then pending CPSIA. Our Rep for Vernon Hills chose to write Jan Schakowsky of all people to help us gain relief. [I didn't realize at the time what a sick joke it was.] Anyhow, I also met with the State Rep for my hometown, and reached out to our State Senator. I explained how many jobs could be imperiled. I explained the cost and the disruption. I explained how ineffective these laws would be to protect anyone from anything. Some of my Illinois State representatives and their staff gave me the impression they thought I might be some kind of serial killer, but offered to consider my views. So this week I checked and lo-and-behold, they were ALL THREE OF THEM co-sponsors of the bill! Nice.

And some people call this representative government. Does it surprise you that they were all Democrats?

On the occasion of my 500th post, I want to tell you how I feel and what I think happens next. First, I am morose over the likely impact of this law on our business and our industry. If others may be numb to this death by a thousand cuts, I am not. I am outraged that this damage is being inflicted by my own government on our business and on our employees. This is clearly wrong - but it's happening. I also feel that the CPSC has become a rogue agency which makes up the law and no longer cares what any of its corporate constituents think. I feel the agency is worn out and sick of making rules - CPSC leadership wants to enforce the law, not write it. The Children's Product definition recently implemented is a case in point - they basically rejected or ignored all comments. The concept of dialogue at the agency has morphed into some sort of public facility for manufacturer venting. But forget about influencing. That door is closed, slammed shut in our faces.

Perhaps most significantly, in the wake of the Children's Product final interpretative rule, I now expect the worst and am only waiting for the inevitable. I predict the awful and irresponsible rules on Component Testing and Testing Frequency/Reasonable Testing Program to soon "go final" with modest or no changes. Think about what this means - I have stated that the rules by their specific terms will force our company to spend $15 million per year on testing and require destruction of as many as 81,000 units for testing purposes. We don't have the resources for this. That's a doomsday scenario for us.

I have previously noted that one effective way to solve the recall "problem" is to eliminate all products. After all, killing the patient ALSO cures his cancer. [I guess that's the silver lining.] Still think this is all hypothetical? I suggest you reread the rule on testing frequency and imagine that the agency will be enforcing this rule against YOU. Imagine that they audit you. I know they don't do that now, but nothing will stop them from asserting a right to do so in the future. Hmmm. Get your checkbook out . . . or sell your company.

This is not such a farfetched scenario. Remember, the testing stay is due to expire on February 10, 2011. It's September 8, 2010 now. That's only five months away. There is no hint that the agency intends to extend the testing stay again. This means they MUST go to final on those rules soon, and to do so procedurally, the rules really need to remain unchanged. The Commission's inaction on the stay means the jig is up. They will hardly bother to read your comments. They don't care - they've moved on.

And the by-product of this demoralizing state of affairs is business paralysis. What kind of government idiot thinks we will be spending big money on investing in our business with this Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads? That's absurd, a fantasy borne of ignorance of the real world. Consider the old saying: "The value of the sword is not that it fall, but rather, that it hangs." Hmmm. Perhaps a nice investment tax incentive will get me out of my funk. GREAT idea, Dems. What insight - handouts solve all problems. . . .

I have committed myself to exacting revenge at the ballot box on Election Day for the Dems' offenses over the past two years. If you feel as I do, I URGE you to take up your rights as citizens and put DIFFERENT PEOPLE in Congress. If we are successful in reconstituting Congress, we can then begin the urgent process of working to unwind the damage inflicted by the CPSIA and by current leadership at the CPSC.

There is no time to lose. GET INVOLVED WITH LOCAL RACES - NOW. Help them raise money, help them spread the word, ask difficult questions, hold the Dems accountable. They have refused to help YOU for two years. MAKE THEM PAY!


halojones-fan said...

Incidentally, if CPSIA passes in its current form, then make sure to go vigilante. Report everyone--demand certificates from retailers, ask for the testing results, send requests to the CPSC every day. They want to enforce the law? Take them at their word.

michael said...

First thing this AM I emailed my representatives, the commissioners and Arne Duncan, the Dept of Education head suggesting that of all the things my company can not do, taking advantage of investment and development credits would be at the top of the list - why would anyone make any further investment in a group of products intended for use in schools and a company making them, given the impossible hurdle that CPSIA represents? Smallest problem I have is income taxes - we won't have any income once we are a few months past next year's stays....

I intend to FAX everyone of these folks every written communication I've made these last 18 months. I also intend to fax my catalog one page at a time to the CPSC and see if they will apply their expertise at determining which of our products are 'children's products' so I can provide that 'official' information to my customers (businesses) - as a business having potential liability in the form of CPSIA shoved down their throats, they could give a fat rat's hindquarters about our design intentions and age classifications. Maybe I can generate 3,000 pages of fax on each of their desks to compare to the 3,000 plus pages of happy horse excrement I have (and continue to try) to sift through.

You tried Rick, you tried. What I've learned from all of this is that I have a better chance at developing a third testicle than I do of having any impact at making CPSIA tenable.

Chris said...

Best we can do at this point is know what is going on. Commission meeting next Wednesday, 9-15, at 10 AM to determine the final draft language of the final interpretive rule defining a "Children's Product".


for the record, it really should not be this difficult to determine whether a paper clip in a science kit undergoes a magical CPSC induced transformation into a children's product. We're just 5 months away from our nation's children learning everything from posters and books instead of hands-on activities. I'm sure Michael is familiar enough with this concept...