CPSIA idiocy

February 16th, 2009  |  Tags: ,  |  7 Comments

Every time I learn something new about the CPSIA, I get more enraged. Most recently, Walter Olson writes in City Journal about its effects on classic books for children. Seeing the aftermath of swift, decisive legislation surely makes one nostalgic for the congressional gridlock of yore.

TAXI WIT UPDATE: Consider another domain in which the CPSIA will leave a terrible mark: print-on-demand and custom merchandise. If certification is at the SKU level and not the component level, what does that mean for products like this sweatshirt? As far as I know, there is one such article in existence, and this product may not be of interest to consumers whose father hasn’t made up a series of bedtime stories about “Otis the young garbage truck” and his many adventures. Should it have cost $617, to include lab fees?

Certainly, our culture is far more impoverished by the Year Zero book-burnings that this woefully stupid law has inspired than it is by any incidental inhibition of novelty t-shirt production. However, like the crackdown on handmade children’s products and the mass landfilling of secondhand toys and clothes, these are all symptoms of the same disease. The homogenizing impact of the CPSIA — whether by proscribing unique toys or clothes made by craftsmen and distributed over the Internet, all but the most contemporary and bland mass-market books, or customer-designed products made possible by automated lean manufacturing — seems to effectively neuter the essential American cocktail of technology, thrift, and enterprise.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Olson has been posting regular, provocative updates about the CPSIA on Twitter and on his weblog. Also, Madison residents may wish to contact Rep. Baldwin, who is apparently on the House subcommittee currently considering reforming the CPSIA.