Thursday, May 26, 2011

CPSIA - Tell me What You Think

With the CPSIA Amendment (ECADA) stalled for the moment, it's a good time to reflect on where we are. I want to know what you think.

As I see it, this is a case of the unstoppable force colliding with the immovable object. Guess where we are located? At the point of collision. On one side, you have the Republicans. They have always decently listened to our issues and tried to help. Only after the 2010 Midterm elections were they in a position to get things done. With the power of the House majority behind them today, they have taken the political risk and shown the political will to craft a reasonable, measured and, frankly, surgical amendment of the acknowledged defective CPSIA.

Interesting sidelight: The legislative dynamic in Congress in 2008 seems long-forgotten. At that time, the Dems controlled both Houses and the dominant player was San Francisco's own Nancy Pelosi. The CPSIA was negotiated during a time when she and her minions ran the show. True, there was a Republican President BUT owing to the media frenzy at the time, no one was willing to take the political risk of asking any questions. Congressional hearings were controlled by the Dems in both Houses and stage-managed them to achieve the right "tone". Behind the scenes, the legislative negotiations between the parties at that time are best described as stiff-arms. The Republicans were jammed on many of the worst anti-business terms in the CPSIA and the sting never went away. This may be why they are so sympathetic to our cause today.

Please keep this in mind when the consumer groups and the Dems cluck about the 2008 super-majority, bipartisan vote on the original bill. In fact, the Repbulicans would tell you that they had no choice. Sounds convenient, perhaps, but if you talk to them, you will quickly see that they really mean it.

On the other side of this collision are the unscrupulous consumer groups and the Dems. This cabal works together for political advantage. The Dems, led by Henry Waxamn, see that they can use ECADA to score political points. They know that the Republicans don't want consumer groups to send out letters to their constituents saying that the incumbent voted to endanger children with lead in toys. I know it's sick, but that's reality in Washington. This may give you some perspective on why people say Washington is "broken". It is.

The Dems want to score points against the Republicans, and the fact that we are being squished in the process is a cost they are willing to bear. Get it, your demise is a cost they are willing to bear, all for the "greater good" of politically endangering the Republicans. Remember, Members of the House are continually running for office. It takes true courage to do the right thing when you are exposed to Machievellian forces like Mr. Waxman and his merry band of manipulators.

For this reason, I am fairly pessimistic about the prospects of this law. You get the same sinking feeling watching the talking heads on CNBC discuss the deficit and war over the national debt limit and hearing our national leaders talk blandly about the consequences of default on U.S. Treasuries. No big deal . . . . The politicians are playing with our lives, but act as though it is some of kabuki theater, Model UN gone mad. Do you think they are looking for a good grade, rather than doing the right thing for America?

I rule out that the Dems are totally ignorant of science. I rule out that they don't understand the data on injuries or what it means for their law. I think they simply don't care about these things. Their profession is politics, and all that matters is the taste left the mouths of voters. A bill easing up on businesses over lead in children's products has political weaknesses that the Dems prefer to exploit. The needs of our community are a secondary consideration. A distant second, too.

So . . . what do you think? What do you recommend in this hot stove league? Can we do anything about this tragi-comedy, can we save products, companies, markets and jobs before the consequences of inaction suffocates them all out of existence?

Let me know. Thanks.


Ben said...

How about youtube videos from small business owners addressed to the public showing how the products they and their children love can no longer be made?

Ben said...

To add to that, Most of the focus has been industry communicating with industry and government. But there is no public support outside of the ATV community because most people don't even know why about the problem or why they should care. The only way to change the Democrats mind is going to be with public support on the issue.

John said...

While the children's product industry is too small to accomplish much by itself, I would love to see businesses of all types organize a 'get out the vote' campaign next year to educate Americans on the cost of all this regulatory nonsense.

The cost to our country in terms of jobs, growth, competitiveness and indebtedness is staggering and something people can surely understand in an 8% unemployment / 1% GDP growth environment. Now is the time.

Anonymous said...

The ship has mostly sailed. Driven by retailers most manufacturers are already doing everything in CPSIA. No one will risk cutting back on what they are doing for fear of having to explain why in the face of a recall. Even if no Third Party Testing and Certification exists, CPSC enforcement staff will use that as the "gold standard" against which to evaluate program ms of those who wander afoul of requirements.

The only benefit might be to make sure history doesn't repeat itself the next time Ongress gets a burr under their saddle.

I do appreciate your passion and dedication. Perhaps Government will be better for it.

halojones-fan said...

@Anon: Big retailers might be dropping things, but independent direct-to-consumer sellers still have a problem.

There's also thrift shops (and I'm waiting for an answer to my earlier question of "while the shops are exempt from testing requirements, are they exempt from content requirements? If they sell an untested item that is found to exceed the standard, what happens?")

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

ECADA says that the lead limits do not apply to used products, subject to certain limited exceptions: (a) jewelry, (b) products actually known to be violative and (c) other products as specified by the CPSC by rule. I think the intention is exclude used products from the lead provisions, period.

halojones-fan said...

Ah, good! Thanks for the reply.