The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has created an example of regulate first and explain why later. In October they proposed new regulations to outlaw strings of bulbs, lighted lawn figures and similar items that would be declared as hazardous. The red tape deals with certifying wire sizes, fuses, and tensile strength of all “seasonal decorative lighting products.”
This includes Christmas tree lights, lighted wreaths, menorahs, outdoor strands, lawn figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, or Santa or Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman. Yes, Kwanzaa, too. CPSC is an equal opportunity Scrooge. The agency estimates that their proposed regulations will impact 100 million items per year with a market value of $500 million.
Why the burning need to regulate Christmas lights now? Good question.
Of course, those items already are covered by safety regulations and also by industry standards and oversight. CPSC admits that 3.6-million unsafe lights were recalled under existing safeguards in place since 1974.But to look on the bright side, writing and arguing over and enforcing the new regulations will employee dozens, if not hundreds of bureaucrats for the foreseeable future. And that's really what it's all about. The reason for the season, as they say,
So what is CPSC’s justification for adding red tape to the red, green, blue, yellow, white and other colored displays? They report 250 deaths from fires or electrocutions by Christmas lights. That’s not 250 deaths per year; it’s 250 deaths since 1980. They had to add together 33 years of statistics to misportray danger.
Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" ready.