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June 28th, 2011 6:22 pm
Crib Death

One of the important contributors to the ongoing recession is the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which continues to take an unbelievably godawful law passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by an entirely clueless president Bush, and then make the law even worse by repeatedly using (and sometimes abusing) its discretionary powers to implement the worstmost burdensome, most costly, most bureaucratic, most job-killing — regulations that could possibly be issued in pursuit of Congress’ already idiotic mandates. (WHEW! — What a sentence!)

Yesterday, the Commission made things even worse, yet again. In a public statement for the record, dissenting Commissioner Anne Northup, an excellent former Member of Congress from Kentucky, explained why the Commission’s new rules for baby cribs are causing retailers to lose tens of millions of dollars unnecessarily:

The seeds for the majority’s decision were planted last fall when a six-month effective date for the new mandatory crib standard was set with insufficient consideration of its impact on retailers. The likelihood that retailers would be left with substantial unsellable stock at the end of the six months was increased when the Commission’s outreach efforts subsequent to the rulemaking failed to target retailers. Significant losses to retailers became almost inevitable when, in response to appeals for relief from the effective date, the Commission’s leadership failed to take adequate action to address the impending harm. Finally, the unjustifiable economic waste was assured when, after a bare majority of Commissioners agreed to hold a public briefing and vote on the issue, the Commission’s leadership directed insufficient resources toward understanding the scope of the problem. Simply put, the Democratic majority of this Commission is unmoved by economic harm to retailers….

In addition to the anecdotal accounts contained in these letters, NINFRA surveyed its members and 37 provided data on their numbers of noncompliant cribs in stock. Those 37 crib retailers had a total of 17,800 noncompliant cribs as of late May 2011. NINFRA’s representative also reported that their average wholesale cost was approximately $275 per crib….as of May 2011, a small fraction of the total retailer community still had at least 117,800 noncompliant cribs in inventory. Had I not asked during the hearing to have the data presented, it would not have been discussed. Incredibly, even after the data was introduced, the Chair asserted that she could not support an extension for “only 17,000 cribs” – completely ignoring both the Commission’s own survey, and the fact that our data was unquestionably incomplete….The Impact Report and oral staff presentation also failed to provide any estimate of the economic harm that would be suffered by the retailers maintaining noncompliant stock. Yet, I elicited through questioning the fact that staff was aware that the average wholesale cost of the cribs in inventory was $275. While I recognize that the Commission’s anecdotal data could not support a statistically significant extrapolation of the total potential loss, and that some number of additional cribs would likely be sold in the short time between when our data was obtained and the effective date of the rule, it would have been a simple matter to calculate the known potential losses: 117,800 X $275 = $32,395,000.

Again, these are cribs that while not compliant with the new regulations are also ones that have NOT been found unsafe. Yet the CPSC is requiring manufacturers to destroy them all. And this money-wasting, product-wasting, job-killing assault on slightly old baby cribs is just one facet of the CPSC’s war against scores of perfectly safe products of daily life. Follow the links within this blog post to learn more. If this isn’t an area that cries out for commonsense reform, and for some liberals Commissioners to be put in their own playpen without any power, then I don’t know what is.

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