Thursday, March 26, 2009

CPSIA Update: Gaming The System Instead Of Helping Toy Manufacturers

Rick Woldenberg is part of the team organizing the Amend The CPSIA rally scheduled for April 1st in Washington, DC. So far several members of Congress have agreed to participate in the attempt to raise national awareness of the unintended collateral damage that the new consumer protection legislation known as CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) has brought to small businesses already suffering from the current shaky economy.

Rick Woldenberg notes this morning, however, that to date the five Congressional Representatives (Joe Barton, Marsha Blackburn, Phil Gingrey, Cliff Stearns, Ed Whitfield), the single Senator (Jim DeMint) and one ex-Governor (Jim Engler) who have agreed to attend the rally in some capacity... are all Republicans. No Democrats have agreed to participate.

In fact, a Democrat member of Congress who wanted to attend, confided to Rick Woldenberg that they were "told in no uncertain terms by "leadership" that an appearance would not be permitted."
Unfortunately, what's going on is that there is a major turf war underway, and we are caught in the middle. The CPSIA is being claimed as a hard-fought and emblematic achievement of the Democratic Party leadership and it thus appears that opposition to the defective law is seen as opposition to these leaders. Hence, Democrats aren't allowed to speak publicly with common sense on the CPSIA - they have to tow the Party line of infallibility, regardless of how strained it is. Any Democratic member of Congress daring to defy Party leadership by acknowledging the flaws in the law and calling for fixes, risks isolation or other punishments.

The CPSIA received overwhelming bi-partisan support last year when it was brought to a vote in both Congress and the Senate; 89 Senators voted in favor, the forementioned Jim DeMint being one of the three "no" votes. In the House of Representatives, only Ron Paul voted against the bill, with a grand total of 424 members voting in favor, including all five Representatives scheduled to make an appearance at the upcoming rally. They are presumably willing to admit they made a terrible mistake, no matter how civic-minded they were at the time of their vote. The goodness of the original intentions is no guarantee against obtaining bad results from the consequences those actions may bring.

Taking the effort to perceive, and to measure, the results of our good intentions is a sign of our good faith, of just how good the initial intentions were. If the attitude of the Democratic Party leadership is that it refuses to even acknowledge that good intentions can actually lead to bad results, what does that say about the sincerity of the motivation behind the initial intentions?

UPDATE: To my embarassment, I was in such a rush to post this earlier that I forgot to give proper credit to for the update on the rally.

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