Friday, January 9, 2009

Saving the Children of Tomorrow: the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

It is amazing that anyone can make it out of childhood these days with hidden dangers lurking around every corner. The newest level of protection for America's children is in the form of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Under this law, starting February 10, 2009, all products intended for children 12 and under must be tested for lead. While this sounds like a good idea, and something that is important for the safety of children, law makers failed to consider one major ramification of such a law: clothing for children under the age of 12.

Retailers of such items across the nation will now be required to test them for lead and phthalates. This is an expensive process that most small children's clothing businesses will not be able to afford. Additionally, thrift stores and second hand stores will not be able to afford to test all the donated clothing and therefore will be forced to shut down.

These added government regulations designed to protect Americans are having the potential side affect of putting a large financial burden on those with lower income levels, or on those seeking to save money by purchasing used clothing. They will no longer be able to buy used clothing on ebay, goodwill, salvation army, and various other thrift stores.

These types of laws are a product of a government who thinks that the American people are too stupid to be able to function on a daily basis without their intervention. A possible reason for this perceived stupidity is most likely a product of the endless litigation instigated by individuals who failed to exercise common sense and suffered the consequences. Because many Americans do not accept blame for anything and are always looking for someone else to be at fault, they put themselves in a situation where they make themselves out to be an idiot. There are warnings on hair dryers to inform users that it is dangerous to use them while bathing. There are warnings on coffee to tell us that it is hot. There are attempted law suits against the fast food industry because people don't know that excessive consumption of fast food fare can result in accumulated fat deposits all over the body. What happened to common sense? Doesn't common sense tell us that using a hairdryer (or any electrical appliance) while bathing could result in electrocution? Doesn't common sense tell us that coffee is hot and that it will burn if spilled? Doesn't common sense tell us that obsessive quantities of eating will cause weight gain? It is no wonder that those in office (many of whom are former lawyers or have law degrees) think that the American public is too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time.

As of the posting of this article, it appears as if there will be a reprieve for used clothing and toys, thus saving the second hand sales industry. However, this reprieve does nothing for the small businesses who will now have to spend their profits on having this testing performed on the clothing they sell. This will translate into higher prices for their products, and fewer people that are able to spend the extra money to pay for the inflated price of the clothing. Additionally, the increased prices and less demand may force these small businesses to close their doors. This will have an inpact on our entire economy, because there will be fewer small businesses paying taxes, which will result in a lower income for the government. Then the employees of the small businesses will be forced to file for unemployment therefore increasing the demand for government handouts.

Do our elected officials even read the bills that pass across their desks? Do they even consider the ramifications of passing such laws? It would seem that they do not.

**A special thanks to Melodie for bringing this new law to my attention!**

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