Congress’s refusal to fix the Consumer Product Safety and Improvement Act (“Consumer Product Destruction,” Review & Outlook, Aug. 12) is, if possible, even more irresponsible than the original legislation. Intended to protect children from lead paint in Chinese toys, the law has resulted in both huge losses and new regulatory costs on industries ranging from motorcycle and ATV manufacturers to toy makers and retailers. Many of these products pose little or no risk of lead-poisoning to children—or anyone else. Yet faced with a real problem—one it created and which it alone has the power to undo—Congress does nothing.
This should serve as a warning to the rest of us as lawmakers seek to ram through massive climate and health-care legislation. The CPSC shows that the unintended consequences of crisis-driven lawmaking are often worse than the original problem—if it was a problem. Don’t count on Congress to correct its mistakes.
NAM President John Engler made a similar argument in the latest edition of “Industry Today”:
The Obama Administration and Congress have big plans for U.S. manufacturing and the economy this year, offering proposals to restructure health care, promote “green jobs,” and establish a powerful new regulatory regime to control greenhouse gas emissions.
Before any of these proposals as enacted into law, members of Congress should stop, take a deep institutional breath, and ask themselves: “Are we repeating the mistakes of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act?”
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