Ed Driscoll

The Bureaucrats Who Brought You The New Book Banning

Back in February, Walter Olson described “The New Book Banning”:

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.

I interviewed Walter for PJM Political on the topic in mid-February, and around that time Steve Green noted that the law also bans smaller motorbikes sized for younger teens, since apparently, there’s some risk that they’ll eat the handlebars I guess–or whatever the “logic” behind the ban was.

On his radio show, Hugh Hewitt interviews the Chair of the Consumer Products Safety Commission Nancy Nord. This was a key passage:

NN: You know, what you have done, Hugh, is put your fingers on yet another problem with this law, and that is that the deadlines and the requirements were put in place in such a quick sequence, that is becomes very, very difficult not only for the agency to get the foundational rules out there in place, but it’s very, very difficult for people that have to comply with these rules to understand them and comment on them, and then comply with them. So we are…

HH: Well, let me conclude…

NN: Everyone is struggling with this.

HH: Let me conclude with, yeah, but you folks are struggling in the government, and I’ve been a government person, a fed for a lot of years. And when you struggle with it, it means you agonize over it, you work hard at it, and you go home.

NN: Well, we’re working with lightning speed by government standards.

HH: I know, but nevertheless, you haven’t lost your life savings, you haven’t lost your business, a child hasn’t been injured or killed because you haven’t done your job. These other people have been, they are living with it.

For a portrait of a rapacious government directly leading to a Rendezvous With Scarcity, read the whole thing.