December 10, 2008
A pretty Idaho sunset
I took this picture about a month ago as a storm rolled in during sunset. This picture is sooc, if you can believe it. It's rather symbolic too. The Prairie Roses Store is officially closed as of December 7th, 2008. The store is not even online anymore. The etsy store is still open, but will probably be closed out in the next couple of weeks. My heart is just not in it anymore.
The main reason is the CPSIA. It appears we are experiencing the The Death of Common Sense. And while I have joined the fight to enact some kind of reform of the reform, I am left wondering if there is any point. The regulations that existed prior to this fiasco were working, otherwise there wouldn't have been so many recalls last year. Since it is unlikely that the CPSIA will be wadded up and thrown in the trash, the resulting mess will still be too complex, too expensive, and too difficult for new design entrepreneurs and small business. And as the book by Phillip K. Howard describes, this kind of legislation brings out the interests of many diverse and competing parties. Some see the confusion as an opportunity to benefit financially at the expense of others by misdirecting them. Others see this as an opportunity to pressure congress to exempt or help their particular interests. I guess my fight is no different because I have joined a special interest group in fighting for change. But is the answer more regulation?
But I can't help thinking it is all rather pointless. Even if we win, so do the special interests. Manufacturing will still be over regulated. The CPSC will still have too much power. Children will still be no safer than they were 1 year ago or 5 years ago or 10 years. The only difference is that manufacturers will now be working under a presumption of guilt instead of innocence. The guilt that they care more about the bottom line than safety. It's not true, of course, but the damage has been done. We have thrown out common sense and the rule of law in the attempt to protect children. The CPSIA was born out of emotionalism and the political expendiency of an election year. The unintended consquences will be felt for many, many years.
Regardless of what happens in the next year and regardless of the rules that finally come down, we as a country have killed common sense. If problems or recalls occur in the future, a manufacturer will now face the likelihood of heavy fines, jail time, lawsuits, and loss of public trust. The manufacturer will try to dodge liability by saying they have their certificate of conformity and that it has been tested in a certified, government approved laboratory. Will it make a difference? Does it provide the layer of safety and protection that is needed? I have my doubts because these rules and regulations provide an opportunity for us to ignore common sense.
I know this sounds rather defeatist. I guess I am discouraged. I am mourning. In any event I probably will not be blogging much more on the CPSIA until it's all decided. It's killing my spirit. I am withdrawing my intense support of the fight for the change of the CPSIA. I am not giving up all together. I will still write my congressman and maybe post a comment or two in various forums. But for my own sanity, I must take this position. You must understand that I am a right-wing conservative, so right-wing I am almost a libertarian. This kind of legislation is exactly the kind of thing I never wanted in the first place. So I will fight this thing in my own way from the lens of my own point of view.
Anyway, back to regularly scheduled blogging.