Sadly, after four years of CPSIA advocacy, it’s finally time to say farewell. The timing of my goodbye comes as we approach the third anniversary of President Bush signing the CPSIA into law (August 14, 2008). I am paroling myself for time served. This is my final blogpost.
This exhausting journey came to a crashing end because I concluded that I am not able to engineer further relief from this terrible law. Congress, having finally passed a CPSIA amendment (HR 2715) after three frustrating years of our begging for help, is finished with this issue for good. They put an end to the lingering issues by cutting loose all the politically sensitive groups affected by the CPSIA (ATVs, bikes, books, resale goods). Those of us with working memories will recall the many words spoken over the last three years about the lead "dangers" presented by these goods to justify their inclusion in the law in the first place. I guess Congress decided lead risks wear off for certain kinds of products. Interesting . . . .
The remaining affected industries will not receive additional relief from Congress because any significant political pressure which might drive change has been neutralized. This was a Democratic strategy to make this issue go away (divide-and-conquer), and it worked. I believe the CPSIA will not be amended in the next two years in any way and may not be amended in a meaningful way again for many, many years. Read HR 2715 – that’s all you are likely to get from Congress.
I have no realistic expectation of further relief from the CPSC, either. The three Democratic votes on the Commission can’t be beaten, and as I have shown in this space, they always vote as a pack with no meaningful exceptions. One "triple vote" will always beat two votes. These Dems have selective hearing or memory or just don’t give a darn about data or testimony that doesn’t validate their conclusions. The outcome of a CPSC hearing, Commission meeting or request for public comment on a CPSIA issue is about as much in doubt as the average Moscow show trial. [It just takes a little longer. . . .]
The comparison to Stalin's show trials is apt. In the 1930's, the Soviets cynically used legal proceedings to lend the appearance of legitimacy to its "findings of fact" (generally based on coerced confessions) and its rendering of "justice". Of course, the trials were just a sham, nothing more than an administrative procedure for implementing a political agenda. And at the CPSC? I cannot point to a single CPSIA issue on which the Democrats showed an open mind or were capable of being influenced by data or reason. Draw your own conclusions, notwithstanding Bob Adler's self-proclaimed "agony" in always casting his votes against businesses. After naively testifying at, contributing to or analyzing and reporting on so many CPSC proceedings that I have lost count, I have totally given up on these people and consider influencing them a lost cause. It’s not worth my time to continue to attempt to work with them.
So with no hope of further legislative relief for the foreseeable future and with closed minds and closed doors at the CPSC, this is not a worthwhile venture for me anymore. I cannot justify it and plan to turn my attention to other opportunities with greater promise of my adding value. I am done with the CPSIA and the CPSC.
Despite the almost overwhelming urge to “sum it all up”, I don’t intend to offer any concluding wisdom. Already prone to repeat myself endlessly in this space, I have clearly stated my position on the issues and my opinions haven’t changed. You know how I feel with specificity. Given that I believe it’s all over but the tears, I can’t see what good would come from parting words on the “war”.
Kind readers, you have become my friends and family. I really value your readership and your support. This blog reflects your pain and your passion, too. We have fed off each other. I want to thank you. You have sustained me.
For those of you who read this blog just to see what I would say about you and who will not miss my little missives (or me), I can only say that I have been completely honest and candid in this space, working with facts and real data, consistently documenting my source materials and my analysis. I respect that you may disagree with my conclusions or opinions, but I don’t respect that you refused to take me on. For all your whining and grousing about me, generally behind closed doors, none of you ever stood up in this space to tell me where or how I was wrong. You apparently lacked the courage to engage in a true, open debate where the outcome was not predetermined in your favor. Perhaps you preferred to ignore me, my arguments and my data, hoping I would go away. In the end, you got your wish. Lucky us.
So the battle ends for me, here. Perhaps someday we will see the return of common sense and respect for corporate members of our society in our safety laws. Until then, good luck to you and Godspeed.