As a former resident of Arkansas, I have followed the career of [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000590′ ] pretty closely over the years. During all that time, Pryor’s M.O. has not really changed – “Aw shucks” + “Jesus” + southern accent = wins. Pryor has long avoided the Republican whitewash of Arkansas by being relatively low key about the way that he almost always votes with Democrats on controversial issues while loudly trumpeting the fake populist things he does that supposedly benefit the poor people of Arkansas. It’s thus pretty fair that [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001095′ ] is basically running against Obama because agreeing (quietly) with Obama is virtually the only thing of substance [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000590′ ] has ever done.
However, on the rare occasions that [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000590′ ] actually takes a leadership role, the results are usually pretty disastrous. And nowhere has that been more true than the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000590′ ] was instrumental in shepherding through Congress back in 2008. By way of reminder, back in 2008, there was an Alar-level scare concerning some kids toys that were imported from China, and [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000590′ ] took the bull by the horns and ran with this pointless crusade. FOR THE CHILDREN.
As with most dumb Congressional crusades, however, literally no scientific evidence was presented that the legislation concerned an actual health risk or that the legislation itself would even meet that risk. In fact, elevated lead levels in children were falling drastically before the enactment of CPSIA and have stopped falling since the law’s passage.
However, while the law has been useless at actually improving the health of children, as with most of these types of legislations, it has been remarkably effective at killing jobs, particularly in the small business sector, and raising the cost of living, especially on the poor.
The law imposes strict, onerous, useless, and repetitive testing requirements on toy makers that small toy makers cannot afford. The effect of the law then has been to almost completely eliminate competition for large toy makers from small-and-mid size toy manufacturers. The law has also imposed a crushing burden on consignment stores who now face civil and criminal penalties if they unwittingly sell a toy (or an item of children’s clothing) that does not meet the law’s byzantine requirements – which has led to many consignment stores closing. The ultimate effect, of course, is to drive up the cost of living on the poorest Americans by making it harder for them to purchase used goods like used toys for their kids or used clothes (including coats and jackets with zippers).
A complete write up of the terror that has been wrought by the CPSIA can be found here at Overlawyered today. Arkansas voters should remember that when they vote for Mark Pryor, they are not just voting for a rubber stamp to Barack Obama’s agenda, they are also voting for a man who himself has completely separate economy and job-killing instincts, and who would continue to wreak havoc on the American economy even after Obama leaves office.