Stupid Laws


As we fought two wars, Chinese products have poisoned us with products, including chilren’s toys, and our response is to drive up the cost and diminish the access to used books and toys:

It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse.

via The New Book Banning by Walter Olson, City Journal 12 February 2009

[c/o Megan McCardle]

The geniuses known as Congress decides to forbid mom and pop bookstores, flea market shoppers, community day care organizers and anyone else from buying or selling themselvs or their kids cheap books that have been printed before 1985. Why? They are banned because minute trace amounts of lead may be present in the book cover illustration paint. Minute amounts that have never produced any cases of lead poisoned children. Can’t it just be mandated that we have to recover them?

This doesn’t affect your 2 kid + dog family at the local suburban mall. This affects the teachers in poor districts that may want to teach great books and may have to buy the books themselves. This affects the kid that may walk by a yard sale with a dime in their pocket and he will have to buy the old lampshade instead of a copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

In February, they made exceptions for libraries, but that is not enough. Its a pretty dumb law, that would be a nuisance to enforce.