By Their Rhinestone Ban You May Know Them
Walter Olson, of Overlawyered, highlights Rhode Island as the base of “America’s costume jewelry industry” in his coverage of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ban on rhinestones and crystals and has collected multiple telling details, including this one:
It doesn’t even matter whether a kid’s health is at more risk (by way of traffic accidents) from being driven to the mall to buy a substitute garment than from going ahead and wearing the rhinestone-bedecked tiara or camisole in question.
The crux of the issue, of course, is this:
To a large extent the Commission’s hands were tied by the absolutist, not to say fanatical, prescription of CPSIA itself, which directs that exemptions be turned down if they could lead to “any” — not “infinitesimal”, not “too small to worry about” — absorption of lead or public health risk.
Which makes consumer protection legislation a “practice exam” for healthcare overhaul, in Hugh Hewitt’s words:
In short, the CPSIA is a perfect example of Congress’s inability to write reasonable, coherent legislation free of devastating though unintended side-effects even in a relatively simple area of legislative endeavor.
Imagine what havoc it will unleash when Congress turns to the massive and massively complicated area of health care and begins to mandate that all or almost all businesses in America adopt certain policies and make obligatory choices. It has done so in the past with regard to important matters such as retirement savings programs and union elections, and always the roll-out of such undertakings has been difficult and marked by uncertainty and difficult questions of legislative intent. …
… The refusal of Congress to move to clean up the mess it made with CPSIA also announces what will happen after Congress passes its magic wand over health care and blows up who knows what: nothing. Tough luck. Deal with it. They will all have campaigns to run which won’t want to focus on the new laws failures and shortfalls.