Saturday, August 22, 2009

Over-regulation anyone?

Federal law required garage sales and thrift stores to verify all items sold have not been recalled

Thrift stores often don't have any clue what it is they are selling, and should not be expected to. It is used crap, buyer beware. Not only applies to retail stores, but also garage sales? Wow.

Federal law bans used children's books prior to 1986, unless tested for lead

Before 1986, there were not strict standards for the amount of lead in children's books, and some have trace amounts. Unlike lead paint and toys, this is a minimal hazard, because the amounts are small, books in general remain intact, and don't flake into pieces that toddlers find attractive. There isn't enough to be a hazard for normal contact to be a danger. The ban also covers most children's toys and clothing.

Testing isn't simple--It far, far exceeds the value of most of these items.

I'm fine with consumer product safety stuff within reason, but this is absurd. The penalties are severe, and the net result is that thrift stores really can't afford to sell any children's items at all. "We're not going to be heavy-handed" the CPSC promises.

At most, the CPSC should be able to require retailers of used children's items to post signs stating something like "products sold in this store are used, and may not meet current CPSC standards". They should not have power over garage sales.

We really are at a point where it is impossible for someone who wants to be law abiding to comply with all the laws. This is frightening to me--if you do something that should be legally protected that a bureaucrat doesn't like, they can find something to charge you with.


  1. Despite being a positively horrific fiction author, Ayn Rand's words are coming true on a daily basis: "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

    When a government realizes it can no longer coerce its law-abiding citizens into bending to its will, the only option left available to it is to make them not-so-law-abiding... and we all know where that ends.

  2. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.

    ...but the end result is the same.

    I'd love to get a politician that would say something like "not a bad idea, but not good enough to justify adding another law"