The Government Vs. The Hand Made Toy Maker

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ — Ronald Reagan

Unlike liberals, conservatives tend to be reluctant to create new regulations. In part, that’s because we consider government to be a necessary evil that can often create as many problems as it solves with its interference.

If you’d like to see a perfect example of the sort of unintended consequences that can be caused by the government, let me introduce you to Suzi Lang, the owner of Star Bright Baby. Suzi hand-makes toys and teething rings for babies and toddlers.” Suzi’s business is being destroyed by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and here’s a letter she sent to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air,

Thanks for posting about the CPSIA. Garage Sale police aren’t the only insane parts of this law… I make and sell small stuffed teething giraffes for babies (or anyone else cutting a tooth). My giraffes are made from 100% cotton fabric, stuffing made from a synthetic fiber made from corn, and thread. That’s it. Nothing toxic about that, right? Well, according to the law, I have to lead test each batch of giraffes I make. I make them in batches of 10-12 because I’m a small time producer (and I get bored easily). That’s about $300-500 per batch. BUT I also have to test them for a plastic additive called Phthalates because the item is intended to go in a baby’s mouth. Never mind the fact that there is nothing plastic in any of the materials I use to make my giraffes. That’s about $800-1200 per batch. Now you’re talking a pretty expensive teething toy.

I testified before a subcommittee of the Small Business Committee in the house in May, and there have been some exceptions made to the law by the CPSC in how they’re going to enforce it, but the law also deputizes every single state Attorney General to go after offenders. By law I’m still not in compliance.

The sad thing is that this hits little old ladies that make blankies and lovies to give away to kids in the ER. And the little hats they knit for newborns in the hospital. It hits small potatoes businesses like mine who already make safe products. It’s sad, really. And the law does absolutely nothing to keep kids safer than they were under the original lead laws.

Oh, and the companies like Mattel who imported all the lead-tainted toys that started this fuss? They get to police themselves. Awesome, huh?

That’s our government at work, folks. It puts people like Suzi Lang in an impossible position: Either go out of business to comply with a nonsensical law or break the rules just to stay in business — and this is just one regulation out of many.

This is why the liberal vision of a centralized government running everything from DC can’t work. No one, especially not the politicians and bureaucrats in DC, has the expertise to truly understand the impact the laws and regulations will have across a broad cross section of America. That’s why the power of government should be as lightly and occasionally used as possible.

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