Monday, June 7, 2010

Because Money Isn't Free...

Last week the Commission had to decide what we should do with $7.1 million of anticipated unspent funding for this year.

Every year every federal agency has money that’s been appropriated but is unable to use as budgeted for a variety of reasons: a staffer’s salary is appropriated, but that staffer hasn’t been hired yet; a project is completed early or is behind schedule; the costs of a project were lower than expected, etc. When that happens, the agency is confronted with thinking up new ways to spend the money, or it can give the funds back to the U.S. Treasury.

Here at the CPSC, we had $7.1 million allocated for purposes that no longer needed that much money. I thought this would be a good chance to do what most Americans would want every agency to do and give the unspent money back.

The federal debt is over $13 trillion and this year’s deficit will exceed $1.4 trillion. And while $7.1 million won’t make up the difference, if every agency started to do the same, we could start to restore a balanced budget.

Unfortunately, I lost the vote 4-1 and the Commission is finding other ways (of course) to spend the money. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this …

For my official statement, click here

1 comment:

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

I think the CPSC has not made the case that its huge increase in expenses made a difference in safety, at least not in my market (children's products). It is actually my opinion that much of the CPSC's activity in the last two years has severely harmed smaller participants in the market and strongly discouraged investment and innovation. Since the last decade of CPSC recall statistics featured one death and three (asserted) injuries from lead and zero deaths or injuries from cadmium, it is hard for the agency to contend that it has made a difference - there's not much to improve upon. We have been safe for quite a long time already.

So, yes, I would have preferred to see the CPSC turn the money back, and concentrate on spending its other moneys on meaningful activities designed to actually save lives and prevent injuries. An example is pool safety, which has claimed more than one child's life and produced almost 12 serious injuries PER DAY over the last decade. That's more than one death EACH AND EVERY DAY from swimming pools. Surely we can spend our money more effectively to save lives and reduce injuries than in a mania over lead and cadmium.