Thursday, December 18, 2008

Unintended Consequences

Cross Posting from my other blog Amid Clutter. It's that important.

The "do something" disease is an epidemic in government. They have to try to make themselves seem relevant so anytime the slightest thing happens that might have a negative impact on their constituents, politicians rush to "do something" to prove that they can solve the problem.

Here we have the government trying to protect our children (it's always all about the children you know) with stringent new requirements for products intended for kids under 12.

Why does this matter? Because, once again, the politicians, in their rush to protect us, did not think through their new law.

One of my favorite things in the world is handmade items like the ones found on Etsy. I sell there and I buy there. When I have a baby I want to be able to buy clothing and toys made from the amazingly talented folks who sell their products on Etsy.

But this law may make that impossible. And it really ticks me off!

I can understand regulating manufacturers importing things in from China. But to affect the livelihoods of super small, sometimes one person, businesses who are crafters and artisans is unnecessary and harmful to the economy.

These are people who are trying to make it on their own by working for themselves. Many of the people on Etsy are understandably concerned that this law will make it impossible for them to sell their goods. And I'm worried that I won't be able to buy their products.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

There is an alliance of artisans and crafts people who are trying to call to the attention of lawmakers the negative consequences of this overreaching bill. Can you help???

Write to your congress person and your senator. Post about this issue on your blog. Sign the petition.

Because the more government sticks its fingers in our lives the more they will do so in the future. First they came for the toy makers ... soon they'll come for the jewelry designers. After all, we know that Chinese jewelry will contain led.


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

This is the typical knee-jerk reaction to the China mess. Most of these folks in Washington couldn't find their arses with both hands. I agree with you.

If they could find the middle of the road things would be far better for everyone.

Try to have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

Leah said...

California already has laws about lead in jewelry, although they don't require you to test every earring, thank goodness.