EDITORIAL: Bye, bye, Buckyballs

Obama micromanagement toys with business, destroys jobs

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The killjoys at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are trying to ban a popular toy known as Buckyballs. These are balls made from powerful rare-earth magnets that stick together and can be rearranged into interesting geometric shapes. It’s just the sort of thing one would expect to see on the desk of a corporate executive for use as a stress reliever during a boring conference call.

On July 25, the CPSC filed an administrative complaint against the company that makes this product. The administration bureaucrats also persuaded several major retailers to “voluntarily” stop carrying the product on the grounds that magnets are a danger to children if swallowed. The toy company’s CEO, Craig Zucker, is fighting back, mounting a campaign on Twitter and Facebook to challenge CPSC officials to a live television debate. “We’re taking a humorous but hard approach to saving our business,” Mr. Zucker told The Washington Times.

The CPSC doesn’t care if it destroys businesses. As Commissioner Nancy Nord lamented in an op-ed column in this paper on Tuesday, the agency’s Democratic majority has no interest in conducting a cost-benefit analysis before issuing a decree. The agency imposes massive paperwork burdens on small businesses that result in fewer jobs being created, often without any proof that safety will be improved. The impact of banning this upstart toy business is measurable: The firm has eight full-time employees. Another 200 sales representatives around the country and 5,000 mom-and-pop retailers who have sold the product will suddenly lose a major source of income.

Of course, just as with gun control, the Obama administration’s jihad against a politically incorrect business can have an unintended benefit. Gun sales are at an all-time high as Americans snap up rifles and handguns as fast as factories can pump them out in the hopes of getting them before President Obama can take them away. The same thing is happening with the $19 to $39 Buckyballs. “There has been an uptick in sales in the last month or so because of all the publicity we’ve gotten,” Mr. Zucker said. “We credit that to people who are supporting us and want to show support. For that matter, they’re not sure how long they can get the product, so they want to get it now.”

CPSC and the Obama administration are doing their best to ensure those sales reach zero regardless of how many people wind up in the unemployment lines. The same administration that feigns interest in child safety in this case is simultaneously trying to force toxic, mercury-laced light bulbs into the home of every American. It also has spent billions in taxpayer dollars subsidizing highly flammable automobiles like the Chevy Volt and Fisker Karma.

For Obama regulators, it’s not about safety — it’s about control. Mr. Obama and his associates think they know what’s best for everyone, and they have no shame about exerting executive authority to prove it. That’s why they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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