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The end of resale shops?

Sharon and I discovered the joy of buying used in 2008. Between the local flea market, which operates inside what used to be a Wal-Mart, and Goodwill Industries, we’ve saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars on clothes and home furnishings over the last year.

Many of our neighbors have discovered that shopping for second-hand stuff is the only way to make ends meet, too. Traffic inside the Goodwill is growing while the economy shrinks.

But now Congress, in its infinite wisdom, has written a law so broad that these places may not be open to us much longer.

Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, or HR 4040, a retroactive rule mandating that all items sold for use by children under 12 must be tested by an independent party for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable.

All untested items, regardless of lead content, are to be declared “banned hazardous products.” The CPSC has already determined the law applies to every children’s item on shelves, not just to items made beginning Feb. 10.

The regulations could force thousands of businesses – especially smaller ones that cannot afford the cost of lead testing – to throw away truckloads of children’s clothing, books, toys, furniture and other children’s items and even force them to close their doors.

Valerie Jacobsen and her husband, Paul, support their family of 13 by selling literature at Jacobsen Books in Clinton, Wis. Her family has contracts with local libraries to buy and sell overstocked books – an arrangement that draws income for both parties.

However, Jacobsen told WND that lead testing is estimated to cost $100 to $400 for each of her used children’s books because she does not buy in bulk, and each batch of merchandise is required to be tested.

“There’s a big difference between me and Wal-Mart or Toys ‘R’ Us,” she said. “They’ll have a batch of 50,000. Everything I have is a batch of one because I don’t know its history. I’m looking at a testing cost of about $1.2 million. I would normally sell my full inventory of all children’s products for probably $15,000. So, it’s effectively a ban.”

The law was written by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and passed both houses by huge margins. It should be more correctly titled the Independent Laboratory Full Employment Act of 2009.

Do these guys actually read the legislation on which they vote, or are they so disconnected from us average shlubs that they don’t understand how this bill could possibly affect anyone?

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