Used clothing and other hazards

I am absolutely livid right now.  I hardly know where to begin I’m so stinking angry.

Have any of you heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008?  If you have, you probably heard that it was passed to protect children from imported goods that may contain lead or other harmful contaminants.  Well did you know that the bill also includes the government-sanctioned testing of resale children’s clothing?

That’s right.  As of February 10, 2009, you will no longer be able to sell or buy children’s used clothing under the CPSIA.  Not at the Goodwill, not at a consignment shop, not on eBay.  Not even at a yard sale.  If you do, you face a $100,000 fine and 5 years of imprisonment.  That is, unless the seller can find a government-approved way to test the garments that won’t force them out of business.

You think I’m joking?

Here’s an LA Times article on the matter, and here’s a brief analysis of this moronic piece of legislation over at Campaign for Liberty:

Congress, in its impeccable wisdom, effectively voted last year to shut down the children’s resale clothing business via the “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.” Not a soul in the House dared to vote against “children’s safety,” proving many in the Congressional cesspool of counter-productivity neglect to read legislation before voting. (I’ll cut a break for the 25 who abstained, as they potentially didn’t vote because they hadn’t an opportunity to read the bill.)

The act requires lead testing of all products sold for children aged twelve and under, including but not limited to clothing and toys, regardless of the date of manufacturing and the high improbability of lead in the clothing, particularly that manufactured domestically. Goodwill, other thrift stores, and one-person shops reselling new and used children’s clothing, making a couple dollars per item, would have to forgo a year’s worth of profit to fund third-party testing services, essentially putting most out of business. Further, as I understand it, the testing requires the destruction of an individual unit out of a batch, and would therefore not work for unique items.

Taking effect February 10, 2009, this ex post facto regulatory taking comes precisely at a time when lower-income and newly unemployed parents most need inexpensive children’s clothing and the dollars they receive from selling or consigning their children’s briefly used items.

While clothing is one of the few areas in which the market demands recycling, stores with existing, untested merchandise will have to opt for sending truckloads of perfectly good clothes to the landfill. And parents who purchased that expensive special occasion dress with plans to resell it after one wear are simply out the money. Not even Goodwill can take it now.

After planning my own recession-proof business, a children’s resale shop, where one was lacking in my neighborhood, I’m lucky to have found this news storyyesterday, before signing a lease. Although I am out some minor capital expenses and inventory costs, the regulatory taking could have had a worse toll, and at least I avoided the $100,000 fines or five-year’s imprisonment.

When I was a poor single mother, the Goodwill and yard sales were the only places I could afford to buy clothing for my growing son.  Those of you who have children know how quickly they outgrow clothing, and you also know what a godsend secondhand shops and garage sales are.  And now that the economy’s in the crapper and parents are losing their jobs, buying new clothes is simply not an option for many families.  Heck, I still shop at the Goodwill, garage sales, and consignment shops on a regular basis for my kids and myself.

But here comes Mommy Government, under the guise of ‘protecting the children’, not allowing us to be grown-ups and assume our own risks (as if purchasing used children’s clothing were really a ‘risk’).

And just exactly how do these clowns in Congress plan on enforcing this law?  Will we have ‘Garage Sale Police’ working the beat in the suburbs, going from house-to-house to make certain that no renegade stay-at-home  mom is peddling her illegal layette to innocent and unsuspecting garage salers?

“Please step away from the onesies with your hands above your head!”

ARGH.  I’m going to go crazy.

And to those of you who thought that seatbelt and smoking ban legislation was a great idea, you’re getting what you asked for.  You want government to take care of you, this is what you get.  I’ve been preaching about the ’slippery slope’ for years, and people keep saying, “Oh, Joey.  That’ll never happen. You’re exaggerating.”

Well?  Did you ever think used children’s clothing would be banned from commerce?

Everyone of you–liberal and conservative–should be outraged.  This isn’t about party politics, anymore.  This is about a runaway government that seems intent on destroying our entire way of life under the ‘good intention’ of saving us from ourselves.  So while everyone’s busy bickering back and forth over which party can ’save’ America, we–the common American citizens–are losing everything.

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