Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Toying With Deregulation

Wall Street Journal
July 20, 2011

Here's a question for White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein: Do Presidential executive orders mean anything? Only last week President Obama asked independent agencies to examine existing rules and get rid of the duds, but nobody is listening.

Within days of the executive order, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted 3-2 that it is "technologically feasible" to impose a lower limit on lead content in children's products, reducing the level to 100 parts per million from 300 parts per million. The new limit, which will go into effect August 14, will mean one more round of hair-pulling for small business owners who will have to change their manufacturing processes and junk existing products that don't meet the new standard. The three votes in favor came from Mr. Obama's chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum and two other Democratic commissioners.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed in 2008 in a frenzy of concern over lead content in toys from China, and it has since tormented anyone who makes or sells bicycles, books, children's jewelry and so much more. Its strictures have imposed costs for testing, recalls and other inconveniences without any reasonable correlation to the risks to children. "No sweetheart, don't eat that bicycle!"


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