CPSIA Update: Media Accountability II

By February 12, 2009Regulations

Virginia Postrel at her Dynamist Blog provides a clear review of the basics of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s horrible impact on businesses and the economy, and views the media’s general failure to report on the issue as evidence of its embrace of “regulatory glamour.”

Regulation is having a glamorous moment. Unlike the messy marketplace, with its alleged propensity for producing financial catastrophe, regulation promises to make life orderly and comfortable. Not since the early 1970s, has “regulation”–the general idea, not a specific proposal–seemed so alluring. Like carrying last year’s It bag or wearing too much bling, it is currently declasse to say anything bad about a regulation.

That probably explains why, the TV news video above notwithstanding, it is so hard to get conventional reporters to give a damn about the devastating effects of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, signed into law last August amid hysteria about lead in kids’ toys. Who, after all, could be against improving safety? Who doesn’t want to keep lead out of the mouths of babes? (The CPSIA passed the House with a single dissenting vote, from Ron Paul.)

There are exceptions to this lack of reporting, though, and Postrel posts an excellent one — a report from the Fox News affiliate in Denver, Channel 31. It’s educational to hear a business person say, “It will put me out of busines.” So, good job, KDVR!

And an addendum at Postrel’s post:

UPDATE II: From Semicolon Blog:

My daughter works in a used bookstore. TODAY they pulled all the books from the children’s section that had any kind of metal or plastic or toy-like attachment, spiral bindings, balls or things attached, board books, anything that might be targeted under this law, and they very quietly trashed them all. I say “very quietly” because the bookstore had a meeting with employees and told them to be careful not to start a panic. If anyone asked what they were doing they were told to say that they were “rearranging their inventory.” No one was allowed to tell anyone about the new law, and no one was allowed to take any of the doomed-for-destruction books home or give them away.

Here’s the video: The embedding didn’t work. Here’s the link again: http://www.kdvr.com/video/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=3433015

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