Walter Olson at City Journal, “The New Book Banning“:
It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse.
He reports an account of book destruction from the somewhere outside the Beltway:
I just came back from my local thrift store with tears in my eyes! I watched as boxes and boxes of children’s books were thrown into the garbage! Today was the deadline and I just can’t believe it! Every book they had on the shelves prior to 1985 was destroyed! I managed to grab a 1967 edition of “The Outsiders” from the top of the box, but so many!
The bill that became the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, H.R. 4040, was introduced on November 1, 2007. It became law on August 14, 2008. Nine-plus months of Congressional consideration and negotiation and some limited floor debate. Nine months, and the result is economic havoc. Books being destroyed!
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R. 1, was introduced on January 26, 2009. The final version of the economic stimulus bill passed the House and Senate on February 13. Nineteen days, and the result will be …
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