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> The Law Of Unintended Consequences, Fair or Unfair?
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stevenpd 
Posted: 22-Aug-2009, 02:57 PM
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Looking for some thoughts on this particular issue. Is this more evidence of government intrusion into an area that they do not belong in? Is it just an overreaction to something that could have been better dealt with in a different fashion? If so, in what fashion? Or is it just something that needs to be there and dealt with? Regardless of your politics, what are your thoughts of the law and its impact on small businesses?

Now for some food for thought:

On August 14, 2008 a legislative bill, H.R. 4040 - Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was signed by President Bush and became PUBLIC LAW 110–314. Regardless of your politics, what are your thoughts of the law and its impact on small businesses?

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Hailed almost universally on its passage last year--it passed the Senate 89 to three and the House by 424 to one, with Ron Paul the lone dissenter--CPSIA is now shaping up as a calamity for businesses and an epic failure of regulation, threatening to wipe out tens of thousands of small makers of children's items from coast to coast, and taking a particular toll on the handcrafted and creative, the small-production-run and sideline at-home business, not to mention struggling retailers. Walter Olson, Forbes, 01.16.09


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This video is just one small entrepreneur that is being effected by the law.






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Patch 
Posted: 22-Aug-2009, 03:27 PM
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This is very typical of big govt. and elected officials with no foresight and or common sense. Most have not read the laws they vote on and many who do have no understanding of what is written.

Many of us feel that the first amendment should have read"Congress shall pass no law!." If things were left at that we would be better off.

We now have enough laws on the books to fill multiple semi trailers and many of those are to fix previous mistakes, sometimes only to make the matter worse.

I believe the legislative branches should only be allowed to meet on the weekdays between Christmas and New Years. But then even that might be too many days!

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stoirmeil 
Posted: 23-Aug-2009, 05:31 PM
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Safety for children per se is a very broad and legitimate concern, and it would be hard to support the idea that government should keep their noses out of it altogether. Which is why this unholy mess, which has every potential to make huge problems for quality independent craftspeople, manufacturers and vendors, is not something to let go with "well, who's going to really check up on all these items and distrib venues anyway?"

This looks like partly genuine well-meaning response to terrible and dangerous practices that have been going on with our import sources for decades on end, because a series of violations hit the American public on the raw; but demonizing a culprit (even one so justly criticized as China qua cheap, shoddy manufacturer of items for consumption and use by children) always makes an opportunity to practice some public favor-currying, which in this case was not well thought out at all either for scope or for the particulars. I should like to see what Ron Paul's criteria were for not wanting to pass this thing -- was it common sense and caution about the splashback, or was it some kind of counterpolitical reasoning that doesn't really sort the problem?

The scope of businesses affected is enormous, once you start pushing it out to the corners as this writer has done. I doubt all of these venues and products would get the same degree of scrutiny, but how can you tell where the eye will fix itself at any given time? The times won't stand that kind of uncertainty, and the economy will certainly not benefit from the strain on smaller businesses.

As the article points out, it is not enough to say that it can't make that much trouble because of the sheer volume of enforcement required, and besides, in the eyes of the victims the injustice rests not on either escaping scrutiny or getting caught, but on operating within the law, and who wants to discourage that? :

Defenders of the law point out, for example, that item-by-item enforcement at thrift shops is unlikely to be an enforcement priority any time soon for the Consumer Product Safety Commission's 100 field investigators.

The thing is, few librarians, eBay (nasdaq: EBAY - news - people ) sellers or knitters want to be told that they're outlaws but at too small-fry a level to attract the authorities' attention. They want to be legal.

Besides, the law grants enforcement authority not only to the CPSC but to the 50 state attorneys general, which means anyone who ships nationally, small fry or not, is at the mercy of whomever turns out to be the least reasonable attorney general, a post for which there is always considerable competition.


Since it is always harder to get toothpaste back into the tube than to squeeze it out, I think repealing this mess outright is probably out of the question. So it is likely either to stand, because there's too much else to take up public policy crafters' time, and in standing it will cause a lot of discomfort and potential backstabbing among competing small businesses who are not quite kosher -- a very unhealthy social and interpersonal position for a whole lot of people in the country to be in -- or it will take a lot of revision and amendment, which I frankly doubt anyone will put forward as a priority.

The idea was to genuinely try and make the kids safer AND to make some political hay -- but it got out of the lab too soon.
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stevenpd 
Posted: 26-Aug-2009, 10:39 PM
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Fear not! A portion of PUBLIC LAW 110–314 has been suspended for two years.

"The Notice of Stay of Enforcement of the lead provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) with respect to children’s bicycles is our latest effort to bring common sense to a law having unintended and adverse consequences on both consumers and product sellers. Although there is no evidence that riding bicycles presents a credible risk of lead poisoning, the inflexible nature of the CPSIA jeopardizes children’s access to new and used bicycles."

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Unfortunately this only addresses the "lead" issue. The remainder still is in effect.

Further research indicates that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a issued a report entitled, "A Review of CBO’s Activities in 2008 Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2009)" on page six that identifies Public Law #110-314 was not reviewed prior to the Congress enacting it. This was published in March of 2009.

I don't think that anyone could argue that children's safety should not be a concern. It does raise the question of whether the Congress actually thinks about what they are voting on or even the ramifications of what a piece of legislation does. However good intentioned it was to enact, the results are poor.

Now, one could say that it all President Bush's fault and that would not be far from the truth as the Congress voted on July 30 and 31, 2008 to pass and the President signed into law August 14, 2008.

Does this situation indicate a certain lack of responsibility of the government to actually think about what they are enacting? Or is this just the tip of the iceberg? What else have they done that has been missed?

In light of what is currently happening, do you think that we, as the citizens of the United States, can trust them to do the right thing? Or do we chalk it up to an unfortunate series of events?

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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 26-Aug-2009, 10:59 PM
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We as the people should never trust the goverment to do the right thing. That should have been the first line of the constitution. Its probably not he first time that the goverment has decided on an issue with knee jerk reaction and it won't be the least. Can anyone say Health Care reform? And am I right in thinking this was during the time when we had all ther recallls from China over lead paint and everyone was freaking out. I recall posting a place that listed toy recalls somewhere on this forum. Believe or not as a collector I check on it (on another site) and there is something recalled every single week. So the effort was well meaning but the execution sucked and alot of products that should have made it onto shelves didn't. The lesson should be that even when the public is screaming bloody murder our goverment should check itself and its facts so we won't have to. Maybe that explains why Wal Mart's action figure aisle is nothing but crap nowadays. hard to believe they nearly put Toy's R Us out of business.


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Patch 
Posted: 27-Aug-2009, 03:00 AM
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Government can be likened to a large ball rolling down hill strewn with obstacles and people. It bounces from side to side breaking things in its path. Most legislation is the result of special interest actions and over reaction to a perceived crisis. Thus, legislation only creates more problems.

Also, govt. is the LEAST efficient entity to manage any thing.

When someone from "the govt." says they intend to help you, you should be very afraid.

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stevenpd 
Posted: 29-Aug-2009, 10:26 PM
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Now, let us consider projecting the outcome of this law with the currently proposed Health Care.

Thoughts?
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