Action: Tell the candidates, No More Toxic Toys!

(is there such a thing as “bad santa?” holy moly! – promoted by pfiore8)

Today Public Citizen released a new report “Santa’s Sweatshop ‘Made in DC’ by Bad Trade Deals”. According to the report toy safety problems have skyrocketed as major U.S. toy corporations relocated their production overseas to exploit sweatshop wages in countries where they cannot ensure the safety of the products.  Thankfully the good folks at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch has put together a easy to use petition to the presidental candidates that simply says this:

Our current imported toy safety crisis is a symptom of race-to-the-bottom globalization. We need new trade policies that protect our kids and support strong consumer safety protections – not trade deals like NAFTA and WTO that promote the relocation of toy production overseas to venues where safety cannot be ensured.

The U.S. President has the power to ensure U.S. trade policy doesn’t undermine the safety of children at play. Urge the candidates to oppose provisions in trade deals that provide special benefits and protections for manufacturers to produce goods in other countries and limit U.S. border inspection and imported product safety standards. Also urge the candidates to provide greater funding for domestic agencies responsible for product safety.

That sound sensible to you? Join me below the fold to learn more about the issue and how to take action.

First let me give some details about the report to get you worked up.

– U.S. toy production has been almost entirely sent offshore: in the 1970s 86 percent of toys were made domestically employing 60,000 workers. U.S. toy production jobs have declined 70 percent since NAFTA and the WTO were enacted, and over 500 percent from their 1970s levels. Imports now constitute nearly 90 percent of domestic toy purchases.

– Company profits have soared. In the 1970s, toy and retail companies made an average of $50 million in today’s dollars. By 2006, that had soared over 1,750 percent to $930 million.

– Toy and retail industry CEOs have been major beneficiaries of corporate offshoring. Three decades ago, CEOs made roughly 50 times what U.S. toy production workers made; in 2006, they made over 500 times what remaining U.S. toy production workers make, and over 21,000 times what Chinese production workers make.

– Recalls have skyrocketed. From 2003 to 2007, the period examined in a new database created for this report, the frequency of dangerous toys sold in the United States skyrocketed, with 120 recalls in 2007 alone.

If you want to read Public Citizen’s full press release head here. If you want to view a full PDF of the great report head here. Read it up and then come back.

Done yet? By now you should be mad enough about our insane trade policy to do something about it. Thankfully Public Citizen has set up a great petition site to the candidates. They will deliver the potions to all of the candidates and hopefully our voices will be heard.  

It is disgusting that we let corporate greed get in the way of safety for our children (or in my case, me, although I have thankfully never eaten a led toy) and we not only need to get active on this we need to fundamentally change the system. Full public financing of elections, media reform, lobbying reform. You name it. Hopefully we can win on this but if we don’t fundamentally change the way the system works we will keep on getting screwed with things like this.

Take action!

And as Thom Hartmann says. Democracy begins with you, activism begins with you, tag, you’re it.


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    • pfiore8 on December 22, 2007 at 05:03

    where to begin, huh?

    thanks, first, for this fine essay. important discussion. and you are right, in your conclusion… tag, we’re it

    but really good stuff… just wanted to tell you.

    • snud on December 22, 2007 at 16:33

    The look on that kid’s face in the cartoon is priceless! I remember feeling exactly like that after taking a big hit off of a cigar when I was about 8 years old. About 10 years later I’d look like that after a keg party.

  1. Snowblowers that actually throw snow with auger blades not destroyed beyond recognition upon ingesting a single rock.

    Refrigerator compressors (made in Brazil) with 30 day “warranty).

    Blue electrical butt splices that don’t hold #14 wires together.

    Health insurance that does not practice organized benefit denials.

    HD DVD players that actually play HD DVDs.

    Software that doesn’t need “upgrades” every ten seconds.

    Oil fired hot water heaters (30 years in 1966/ maybe five now, maybe)

    Financial institutions not supporting the Mark of the Beast implantable microchip.

    Even rifle ammunition that actually fires consistently.

    This is only my short list, stuff limited to last year, the shittyness of ALL of todays’ “products”.

  2. Populista – thanks for the action item.    What a crazy world – toxic toys who woulda thunk?  

    ed. note: since this was promoted, I moved the santa pic below the fold.  We don’t want to have copyright material on the front page.    

  3. comments and the front paging.

    It got some local press in a union paper: http://www.workdayminnesota.or

  4. …this is really an issue which is, and has, solved itself.

    The entire concept of trade is based on a simple premise – the only times when trade occurs is if both parties are better off due to the trade.  Otherwise, it doesn’t happen.

    Already, China is embarking on a massive national project to inspect its produced goods.  Already, American companies which import from China are taking it upon themselves to make sure that imports are safe.  And already, consumers are avoiding Chinese goods.  They will continue to do so until this sort of thing never happens.

    Problem solved.  Without the need to create expensive inspection programs run by the government.

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