Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Letter To Rep. Waxman (and Princess' too)

Dear Representative Waxman:

I am writing to request that you hold a hearing on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (also known as CPSIA or H.R. 4040). As you no doubt are aware, when provisions of this act go into effect on February 10, 2009, they pose an enormous risk to a not-insignificant sector of our economy in the middle of a recession. The “first rule of holes” is that when you have reached the bottom of a hole, you would do well to stop digging. Likewise in a recession, enacting a law that decimates an entire industry is, to put it bluntly, stupid beyond belief. My 11 year old daughter (whose letter I am appending to this) understands the problem quite handily. Are you smarter than a 6th grader?

As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, you are the only person with the power to initiate action on this law. The CPSC cannot take action in time to prevent the tsunami of business closings. My own business will be fine until August, barring any action by the CPSC that will allow it to keep going. But there are many businesses large and small which are financed by using their inventory as collateral. When their inventory becomes unsalable on February 10, their businesses will go under.

It is my understanding that you passed this law in part to allay the public’s fear of lead-containing products. Instead, you have enabled even more fear by suggesting that innocuous products like clothing and shoes contain unsafe amounts of lead—so much that we need a sweeping law to protect us from them. Clearly you were unaware that according to the CDC’s own data, freely available to all on their website, the percentage of children with potentially dangerous levels of lead in their bloodstreams (not actually dangerous levels) is barely over 1% of the population, and that this is a fraction of the proportion that had these levels just 10 years ago. If there were such dangers lurking in our children’s clothing, surely that number would be far higher or increasing. Our nation’s children were never in enough actual danger to warrant a sweeping new law.

I understand you recently held a markup session on the new stimulus bill. I would humbly suggest that if you would like to stimulate the economy, you would do well to start by not making it worse. Also, I understand that there has recently been a vote to extend the transition to digital television. This transition was allotted years, and the federal government sprung for an awareness ad campaign and even digital converter boxes. CPSIA, by contrast, was implemented in just six months, and there was no awareness campaign (other than the CPSC’s 1990’s-style website) and not a dime to help hard-hit businesses adapt. Why do businesses get such short shrift? One might be inclined to think that you have a particular dislike for businesses. Indeed, one might wonder why it is that you are so eager to give out government money to everyone except businesses.

Small business is perfectly content to make jobs for you, if you will quit standing in its way. Maybe we small business owners should ask for a handout instead. Then you might pay more attention to us.

I have read your letter to the CPSC, and your office’s and your committee office’s public statements to the effect that we shouldn’t worry about the enforcement of the law because we are unlikely to be shut down by an overtaxed CPSC. One thing that has heartened me during this entire ordeal is that so many of my fellow business owners respect the rule of law so much that they would voluntarily quit their businesses rather than flout a law, even an unenforced law. The rule of law is an ancient tradition, one from which you and the rest of Congress derive their power. Passing a law that you fully intend to not be enforced is a travesty. It is a slap in the face of the history of progress in government, from Hammurabi’s Code to the Magna Carta to even our own Constitution. You should be grateful that our people still respect the law that you spit upon, for it is by that law that you have any power to put your boot on our necks at all. I urge you to consider that as you decide what to do about CPSIA.


[Wacky B. Hermit]



Dear Congress,

I am writing on behalf of the CPSIA law. My name is [Princess] and I am 11 yrs. old. I have three siblings and am in the sixth grade. My mom runs a business which sells baby booties. On February 10, 2009 her products will be hazardous. Why? Because you helped vote for that stupid law. Think about what is going to happen in the future! We are in the middle of a reception here people! Think!!!! The country is going to go into a depression! Think about the people you are representing! You are voting for the whole country to go into depression, losing small business' (which sell really nice things), and for other kids like me to lose being a kid and having fun.
In my opinion this law is stupid .Don't forget the Analects of Confucius. To those working in the government, Confucius said: "Go before the people with your own good example and hard work for there sake." I hope you change your mind about that law because it is just dumb.

Yours Truly,