Opinion: Columnists

Obama makes war on Buckyballs

By |

It's come to this: In the name of protecting parents from their own lack of responsibility and common sense, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is waging all-out war on an innovative consumer product company in New York.

The vengeful, destructive feds won't stop until the world is safe from tiny, magnetic Buckyballs -- and until every last job created by the firm is wiped out. While the White House doles out billions of taxpayer dollars to failed crony ventures, this phenomenally successful toy maker is fighting for its life.

Last week, the agency filed an "administrative complaint" against the manufacturer/distributor of Buckyballs and Buckycubes, New York-based Maxfield and Oberton Holdings LLC. The legal action -- only the second of its kind in 11 years -- seeks to stop all sales of Buckyballs products, force a recall and order full refunds. According to the bureaucrats, "dozens of young children and teenagers swallowed" the adult desk toy, causing "internal injuries requiring surgeries."

A dozen swallowing incidents have been linked by the CPSC to Buckyballs since 2009. Compare that to the estimated 30,000 emergency room visits that occur every year as a result of children swallowing government-minted coins.

There are no fewer than five cautionary labels on every Buckyballs or Buckycubes product box; the company distributes an educational video on the dangers of swallowing the toys. And Maxfield and Oberton has cooperated with the government on safety policy since its inception.

Yet, several feckless retailers (including Brookstone, Amazon and Urban Outfitters) under the regulatory gun have already yanked the magnets from their virtual and physical shelves despite the company's clear warnings that Buckyballs and Buckycubes are for adults -- not children.

"Obviously the bureaucrats see danger everywhere, and those responsible people -- like our company who have vigorously promoted safety and appropriate use of our products -- gets put out of business by an unfair and arbitrary process," Craig Zucker, founder and CEO of Maxfield and Oberton, said in a statement.

Obama's big-business pals sit on do-nothing jobs councils and host countless dog-and-pony shows touting their commitment to "Startup America." But when a 3-year-old startup that has earned $50 million in sales all on its own faces ruthless bureaucratic extinction, the government jobs blowhards are nowhere to be found.

"I don't understand how and why they did this without following their own rules before allowing us to make our case," Zucker said. "It almost seems like they simply wanted to put our products and industry out of business."

The magnetic toy company is not alone. The heavy-handed CPSC is notorious for imposing nonsensical rules that have decimated small businesses across the country. A hysterical overreaction to lead in children's toys three years ago ushered in a trial lawyer-friendly nationwide witch hunt against handmade toymakers, manufacturers of artisanal books, sellers of musical instruments and other educational entrepreneurs.

In 2001, I reported on the CPSC's crackdown on baby bath seats -- which was based on dubious fatality statistics that whitewashed parents' idiotic decisions to leave infants alone in the seats or with younger siblings who dumped the babies into the tubs to drown. According to the manufacturers, all but three of the bath-seat deaths cited by the feds over the past two decades occurred when a child was left alone.

Government paternalism is wreaking havoc on the economy. They have self-made entrepreneurs who refuse to play their games by the balls. The Nanny State is not a lifesaver. It is a self-serving serial job-killer.

If America's builders don't stand together, the American Dream won't last for long.

Examiner Columnist Michelle Malkin, author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies," is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.

View article comments Leave a comment