Saturday, January 10, 2009


Have i ever mentioned how much i hate federal legislation, or more specifically, non-representative bureaucratic regulatory rulings? (No Regulation Without Representation!)

This month there are a nice set of them, i havent had a chance to look at all of them, but the particularily nice ones involve "sacrificing impoverished asthmatics" and keeping kids from having toys from small manufacturers. Also, Bush signed in a Duty and Tariff Free extension for Israeli goods and products on dec 31,08. (eye roll)

Im serious, and hardly exaggerating.

In 1987 the Federal Government signed the Montreal Agreement, to limit certain types of propellants, particularily Chloroflorocarbons, from use to stop the growth of the Ozone Hole (remember that one? havent heard much about it in a while). they went after cars first, requiring a new (and patentedly expensive) refrigerant alternative, though they ignored the chemical fire extinguishers for quite some time, despite the fact that they actually vent directly into the air, instead of leaking slowly. Well, in the interest of further complying with this agreement, the Federal Food and Drug administration issued a short press release that read fairly simply: "Your Metered-Dose Inhaler is Changing to Help Improve the Environment,"

You see, the most common type of asthma treatment is an Albuteral Sulfate inhaler, with various drug companies selling an average of $190million dollars of them in the last few years, just in the US. As of January 1st, 2009, however, there are to be no new ones manufactured or sold, as the large drug companies are offering a CFC alternative inhaler (under patent, of course) and the old prevalent generics are no longer considered medically nescisary. Despite studies that show that many daily users will drop the use of their inhaler by 40%, sales of the new improved competition proof, higher priced inhalers are expected to jump to a staggering $450-500million dollars. The new inhalers are also harder to use, clog more frequently and dont last as long, which is a real concern for asthmatics like myself, that dont dose daily, but keep an inhaler on hand in case of emergency. Despite ardent presure to delay the ruling until a generic might be availiable, the FDA put its pen to the line, and in the words of Vin Suprynowicz, "Sacrificed impoverished asthmatics everywhere."

The second ruling of note is what resulted when americans so wisely asked their government to protect them from chinese toys laced with lead. (a real worry, im sure)
Never one to turn down an opportunity to expand its power, act it did. Here are some snippets from the article i read:

Lead paint spurred the recall of 45 million toys last year, mostly made in China
for larger manufacturers. Parents flocked to stores like The Playstore in the
recall's aftermath searching for safer alternatives.

Lawmakers also responded. In August, President Bush imposed the world's
strictest lead ban in products for children 12 or younger by signing the
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.


Small toy makers strongly back the restrictions in the bill, which they say
reflect voluntary standards they have long observed to keep harmful substances
out of toys. But they never thought their products would also be considered a

And now...

Toy makers are required to pay a third-party lab for the testing and to put
tracking labels on all toys to show when and where they were made....

As a result...

Without changes to strict new safety rules, they say, mom-and-pop toy makers and
retailers could be forced to conduct testing and labeling they can't afford,
even if they use materials as benign as unfinished wood, organic cotton and

Although the law exempts products that do not threaten the public health, it is up to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to decide what those products are.

One European toy maker has already announced it will stop its exports to the
U.S. because of the law's costs and uncertainties. Selecta Spielzeug, a German
company, said earlier this month that it will stop shipping its wooden push
toys, games and other products to 1,200 U.S. stores after Dec. 31....

I don't want harmful levels of lead in children's toys as much as the next guy, but one has to keep in mind the dangers of running to the federal government to solve the problem. Now many of these small companies, who make products that do not contain any lead whatsoever, could be driven entirely out of business, or at the very least have to make drastic cuts to staff and product lines.

Meanwhile, the big companies causing the problem will continue to roll along - albeit with less competition in the marketplace. So, a law intended to tighten the screws on them has instead made them stronger. Once again, long-term effects of a policy and its consequences on those it wasn't meant for reap their ugly harvest.

Corruptissima republica plurimae leges