Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Congress vetoes Christmas; New rules deprive youngsters of their favorite lead-based toys

With the economy reeling, many Americans have scaled back their expectations this holiday season. But even the most modest consumers are making some allowance for the happiness of their children, particularly around Christmastime.

"My kids love Christmas," remarked Cassandra Wilson of Chicago, Illinois: "They can't get enough of it."

Getting enough of Christmas may prove difficult for some of America's smallest consumers this year, thanks to a controversial new ban on the sale of lead-based products in the US. Many retailers and manufacturers are lobbying to relax enforcement of the "Scrooge Act," which they say will dampen the enthusiasm of America's youth at a time of national crisis.

"The last thing you want to do in the middle of an economic downturn is tell kids that Santa Claus is being held hostage by communists," said Philip Blowery, president of the US Chamber of Commerce. "Hell, when I was kid, my brothers and I -- we practically ate lead toys for breakfast. After all, what's childhood without the smell of an action figure being cooked over an open flame? It's a sham, that's what."

Marlene Sparks of the National Association of Manufacturers agrees. "Look, nobody is telling the little tykes: you have to purchase toys with lead in them. All we are saying is, we have a large inventory of lead and non-lead based products, and the government shouldn't be making this choice for you."

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