Feds swarming garage sales and church bazaars?

posted at 4:37 pm on August 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When our founders created the federal government, I’m pretty sure they didn’t anticipate having its power reach into their carriage houses.  Thanks to a particularly asinine piece of legislation called the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act, though, we now have federal inspectors threatening to start investigating yard sales and church bazaars.  They say they’re just going to focus on thrift stores and Craigslist … for now:

If you’re planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you’d best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products.

The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer. …

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or — increasingly — digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.

Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.

And I’m sure that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would be especially proud of this report from McClatchy:

Staffers for the federal agency are fanning out across the country to conduct training seminars on the regulations at dozens of thrift shops.

Yes, because when America was founded by men like John and Samuel Adams, George Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, it was to ensure that we could send federal inspectors “fanning out across the country” to stop people from reselling their old junk.

What did we ever do before the CPSIA protected the US through its throngs of federal nannies?  How did we ever survive garage sales in the past 233 years?  Oh, yes: we used our common sense as consumers.  Gee, those were the good old days, weren’t they, when our government treated us as though we had a lick of intelligence and maturity?

I’m not the only one waxing nostalgic, either:

“Many toys have small pieces that could be dangerous,” she said. “My son played with army men, Lego blocks, all kinds of things with little parts. A toddler can put anything in his mouth. Parents need to have common sense. Ultimately, the parent needs to really evaluate and be watchful of what the child is playing with. We as consumers have to be careful. It really comes back to us.”

Nonsense, Nancy!  We’re not qualified to make our own decisions and exercise our own discretion any more.  We need CPSIA federal inspectors to get between us and those dangerous thrift stores, Craigslist entries, and church bazaars.

It’s the era of Hope and Change!  We’re all idiots!  And that’s why the government is here to help.

Breaking on Hot Air