Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Our First Guest Post - Politics 101: How to Get Elected to Office by Jim Silver

Washington Governor Chirs Gregoire last week signed the most rigorous toy safety law in the U.S.. While, protecting children's safety must be a top concern of anyone purchasing products, we believe that this is misguided legislation that has been rammed through the legislature on emotionalism and in direct opposition to established science.

Our friend and colleague Jim Silver of ANB Media is one of the few people willing to take a stand on this legislation and call it what it really is: election year grandstanding designed to create the illusion that things are really being accomplished to ensure greater safety for children.

He makes many good points, and we encourage you to read and seriously consider his views:

Politics 101: How to Get Elected to Office
By Jim Silver

Governor Chris Gregoire recently signed a bill for the state of Washington that will ban about 33% of all toys. The bill, to commence in July 2009 will outlaw toys with batteries because they will exceed the lead content the state will allow in toys. The amount of lead they’re allowing in toys is only 20% of the federal regulations.

The purpose of this bill? Toy safety? No, but to win elections. How do you win an election? You take a hot topic, like children’s safety. You yell about lead, how unsafe it is, and stir up your legislature and the people into a frenzy. You scare the public and talk about how you will make their children safer. You talk about the lead in toys, and how you will get rid of the lead. You impose strict regulations on lead in toys, 7x stricter than the federal guidelines. Guidelines so strict, that toys with internal batteries won’t pass the permissible amount of lead allowed. Then, you make exemptions for Video Games. We all know kids don’t play with video games, that they never have the wireless controllers in their hands. Exempt, because Microsoft and Nintendo are two of the biggest companies in Washington (and I am a huge fan of Wii and Xbox, consider them 100% safe, and tons of fun.) But you can’t hurt two of your state’s largest corporations.

And you then exempt BB and pellet guns, because guns aren’t dangerous like toys. iPods and cell phones are also exempt, because we all know kids don’t use these either.

Does this sound like a total fiction? I only wish.

Dr Garry Gardner, the chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on injury, violence and poison prevention has been quoted saying “I think people don’t always worry about the right things." The facts are the real dangers to children are small choking hazards, balloons, marbles and magnets that can become dislodged. These small choking hazards have lead to over 95% of all child related deaths the past ten years. As for lead...0%.

There are numerous scientific studies to show that lead paint in houses has been the greatest danger to lead poisoning. But that won’t win elections. Governor Gregoire said she will revisit the toy category after the 2008 election. How convenient!

State by State regulation will create chaos. Toy stores will open in Oregon on the state line. In order to get the hot toys, you will have to “cross the border”. What about, who is based in Washington. Will they now be prohibited to sell in state? How about out of state? Or will they also get a special exemption? A black market will be created and the consumer will suffer.

We are going through tough economic times. People are fighting to pay their bills and put food on the table. Gas prices are hurting all aspects of businesses. We have serious problems for the serious politicians to resolve. I just hope some of these politicians will stand up this year and address the real issues this country has to face.