Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to Kill Business 101

Earlier today I had the privilege of being a guest speaker at the American Enterprise Institute. My speech, entitled "How to Kill Business 101: An Insider’s Look at How Over-Regulation Is Killing Our Economy” focused on my experiences in Congress as compared to my current position as a Commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Throughout the discussion, I was able to hear from the regulated community as well as provide some of my insights into ways in which we can lower the cost of regulations while also ensuring the safety of our products. In particular, my speech addressed three main points:

First: It is my belief that when Congress enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that they never meant for the law to have such a costly affect on the regulated community. During my confirmation hearing, I was asked to find flexibility in this law, and work towards finding a balanced solution in determining what regulations we needed moving forward. My efforts to encourage my fellow commissioners in the majority to find flexibility in the law continue to fall on deaf ears. It is my hope that today’s event will bring the attention that is needed to change the course of regulations here at the CPSC.

Second: As many of you are aware, last week the commission by a 3-2 vote mandated that every component in products intended for children 12 and under will move from being 99.97 percent lead free to 99.99 percent lead free. We are not talking about lead in paint, which actually does pose a risk to children but rather lead in metal substrate. In the briefing package, even our own staff discounted any health benefits to children. Furthermore, going to such levels will be exceedingly costly to those who make children’s products who will now have to re-engineer, buy virgin plastic and virgin steel and absorb higher testing costs to prove to us that they are complying. American families on modest budgets will soon be paying the cost of this excessive regulation. As I have mentioned before, and NIH and EPA studies verify, the traditional dangers with lead stem particularly from old houses where paint contains high lead levels and areas where gas has been left on the ground, potentially causing ingestion in a child. Ironically, the EPA, who is tasked with oversight of this issue, has just withdrawn a Rule that would have focused on reducing children’s exposure to lead in paint while we are going in the opposite direction.

And Finally: I focused on the importance of following the President’s Executive Order at the CPSC. The President has asked even the Independent Agencies to consider cost/benefits analysis and look for less costly alternatives but that did not stop the Majority here at the CPSC. Our staff actually acknowledged that moving to the 99.99% lead free might be impossible for businesses and that they might close, that it would make products less durable and that they would not work as well.

I would like to thank AEI for having me come to speak today and always welcome the opportunity to be a guest at any organization. Together I believe we can truly make a difference here at the CPSC, and look forward to your continued input and support.

1 comment:

Julie Renee Holland said...

Thank you for your efforts to bring reason to this process. Simply following the labeling laws for some of my products is costing as much as 50% of the cost of materials for those products. The irony is that these are 100% cotton and other natural materials that could never contain lead in the first place. If this law is not amended before the 2012 deadline - I will have no choice but to stop producing almost all of my products. Since the economy has already reduced sales and taken my husband's job - this is a very serious threat to our family's livelihood. Our products are safe - we can prove that - but the law could still kill our business.