Sunday, September 12, 2010

CPSIA - Double-Speak Patrol

760 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 51 days left until Election Day.

Consider the following two events:

a. August 2, 2010: The CPSC Commission voted to authorize yet more Mattel firewalled labs (2) and a lab operated by Hanesbrands, a $2.3 billion market cap maker of underwear. [Oooo, lead in underwear! Is this a sick joke or does the CPSC really think kids are chewing on their dirty underwear? Ew!] I believe, without checking, that Mattel now has nine approved firewalled labs, enabling it to save lots of money which is well beyond the practical reach of any small business. The only parties who have thusfar achieved this relief are mass market companies.

b. August 15, 2010: CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum gave an interview with the Baltimore Sun featuring the following exchange:

"Q: How do you respond to some critics of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act who say the law puts heavy testing burdens on manufacturers, especially smaller producers?

A: We have to have high standards to protect the consumer. So regardless if you're a large business or a small business, we can't let you put lead in children's products, or cadmium. Or overlook flammability laws or use other toxic chemicals. We look at what the danger is. We think if we had a small-business ombudsman who was out there regularly educating small businesses, we could help them prevent problems in terms of compliance. Large corporations have a whole office full of lawyers and engineers and chemists and toxicologists. Small businesses do not. And we don't want to put anyone out of business. We want to help them learn how to comply and sell safe products." [Emphasis added]

Put side-by-side, these two events separated by only a few days, make clear the utter insensitivity of our government to our plight. The dismissive condescension of Tenenbaum in daring to suggest that an ombudsman would make the problems disappear for small businesses is infuriating. The necessary implication is that we small businesses are just too stupid to understand their complicated rules - I guess she thinks only Mattel can read the English language. Of course, the pending testing frequency rule (which I believe will be implemented in the coming weeks, get ready for it) will cause our company to spend $15 million per annum on testing. This sum far exceeds our profits. Perhaps the ombudsman will help us terminate our people to pay for testing, or provide a shoulder to cry on. And we'll be crying alright.

At the same time, Tenenbaum is actively feathering the nest of the VERY Big Business that caused the CPSIA, Mattel. How ironic, isn't it? The fact that she is tilting the children's market fatally in favor of Big Business doesn't seem to be a source of guilt for Ms. Tenenbaum. Empty words are the solution.

Please keep this in mind the next time you suffer through the dark intonations of our Fearless Leader laying the blame for the economic problems of the small business community at the feet of the Republicans. The problems in our market won't be solved with yet another handout - the Dems should try loosening the garrote they are busily tightening around our air passages. Tax relief won't provide much help when the new regulations makes profit impossible.

Let's stipulate that the Dems in Congress and at the CPSC are fully aware of the inequities and other problems embedded in the CPSIA. In the face of a continuous and vigorous public debate for two years+, this seems beyond dispute. I am also aware that this blog is widely and loyally read by these people. Ignorance is not a possible explanation. Stubbornness, self-preservation, zealotry, a lack of political will, exhaustion - any of those make more sense to me as an explanation.

I have no outlet for my anger over this. I just hope you are not a sucker for the Dems' baloney and spinning. Our ONLY hope is a Republican-led Congress that will act to make these people accountable for the damage they are inflicting. The Dems have proven their stripes - to hope they will come to their senses is simply wishful thinking without any basis in reality or fact.

Can you take two more years of this? I cannot and I will not. I need your help, however - you need to vote the scoundrels out of office on November 2. Here is a list of Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

Henry A. Waxman, CA
John D. Dingell, MI
Edward J. Markey, MA
Rick Boucher, VA
Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ
Bart Gordon, TN
Bobby L. Rush, IL
Anna G. Eshoo, CA
Bart Stupak, MI
Eliot L. Engel, NY
Gene Green, TX
Diana DeGette, CO
Lois Capps, CA
Mike Doyle, PA
Jane Harman, CA
Jan Schakowsky, IL
Charles A. Gonzalez, TX
Jay Inslee, WA
Tammy Baldwin, WI
Mike Ross, AR
Anthony D. Weiner, NY
Jim Matheson, UT
G. K. Butterfield, NC
Charlie Melancon, LA
John Barrow, GA
Baron P. Hill, IN
Doris O. Matsui, CA
Donna M. Christensen, VI
Kathy Castor, FL
John P. Sarbanes, MD
Christopher S. Murphy, CT
Zachary T. Space, OH
Jerry McNerney CA
Betty Sutton, OH
Bruce L. Braley, IA
Peter Welch, VT

Please help their opponents with cash and labor, and votes. My guy is Joel Pollak, running against Jan Schakowsky. Can you imagine Congress without her? Oh, to dream. . . . His website is - please consider supporting his candidacy generously.


Geoff Jones said...

I have always thought is was just a crazy conspiracy theory that Congress was colluding with multinationals (i.e. the BIG toy companies) to eliminate samll business. It wasn't until I realized that the CPSC, with all of the new rules and regulations they need to implement will not have a really significant increase in the total staff at the agency. There are something like 1200 ports alone that that the CPSC depends on interagency cooperation to get any kind of enforcement of CPSC regulations (think US Customs). That is about 3 times more ports than actual bodies at the agency (not inspectors, just bodies).

My theory is that the CPSIA was actually DESIGNED to eliminate small business so that the CPSC would have less companies to regulate and would therefore have sufficient staff to regulate those businesses. With the recession in full gear the effects are beginning to be be seen, that eliminating small bussiness is actually bad for the economy. Unfortunately communication within the government is slow so they won't get the message until the next election cycle.

Wacky Hermit said...

The only one of my kids I even thought about giving lead underwear to is my daughter, but in the end we went with the stainless steel chastity belt. It wasn't as lightweight as the aluminum one, but she's really pretty so we needed the stronger metal. Plus she's only 12 and still wearing girls' sizes, so we needed something CPSIA compliant.

Anonymous said...

[Oooo, lead in underwear! Is this a sick joke or does the CPSC really think kids are chewing on their dirty underwear? Ew!]

Likewise, they just noted that there is nothing toxic in diapers.

Nothing in Toxic in Diapers??? Haven't these people ever cared for newborns??