Hewitt:…What Glass Beads Tell You About Obamacare

[The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, a three-member group, recently deemed it illegal to adorn children’s apparel and accessories with crystals and rhinestones. See The Providence Journal for more information.]

Monday, July 20, 2009
What’s In The Bill We Don’t Know About? What Glass Beads Tell You About Obamacare.
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt

…I have written before…about the cautionary tale provided by the Consumer Products Safety Improvements Act of 2008 (“CPSIA”), which hasn’t even passed its first birthday yet but which has cost American business hundreds of millions of dollars in unintended costs and American workers untold thousands of jobs by laying crippling and absolute mandates on great numbers of American manufacturers. Just this past week the Consumer Products Safety Commission gave another shrug of it shoulders and told another group of manufacturers that the law’s bans on even microscopic levels of lead in glass and crystal beads was absolute, continuing the CPSC’s run of “tough luck” rulings that have dealt blow after blow to American manufacturing already reeling from the recession. The CPSIA’s labeling requirements are now kicking in as well, layering on enormously costly requirements for testing and product marking that make no sense to any reasonable consumer advocate.

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.

Never has Congress rushed into anything as remotely as important as health care and begun dictating to the employers of America what they must do vis-a-vis every employee. The upheaval will be enormous, which is why the example of CPSIA should be in front of every senator and congressman considering whether to rush this process in order to provide the president with a symbolic political victory. Six key senators have sent a letter urging a slow down, and this is clearly the prudent course. As the CPSC’s series of rulings on the CPSIA have shown, there is no ability for an agency to fix or soften Congressional mandates no matter how poorly written or obviously ridiculous. 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.

Read Hewitt’s complete article here

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