Just kidding!

I was, when I said that if Americans wanted to buy toxic toys from China that was their right as consumers. But Erin Burnett of CNBC said the same thing with a straight face: if China is going to make toys without lead in them, that means prices at Wal-Mart will go up, so we should be careful what we wish for.

Of course, I was snarking (at libertarian idiocy) when I wrote in this space a week ago:

Shouldn’t the Chinese government be praised for freeing pet-food and children’s-toy entrepreneurs from the deadening hand of regulation? How do we know that the buyers of those products weren’t making perfectly sensible decisions to accept somewhat higher risk of poisoning their pets or kids in return for somewhat lower prices?

But apparently Erin Burnett of CNBC was perfectly serious when she told Chris Matthews (about 2:40 on the clip):

People should be careful what they wish for … if China … is to start making, say, toys that don’t have lead in them, or food that isn’t poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up. And that means prices at Walmart, here in the United States, are going to go up too. So, I would say China is our greatest friend right now. They’re keeping prices low.

Words fail.

h/t: Hunter at Daily Kos, via Ezra Klein.

(And yes, this is the same clip where Matthews acts out the part of a dirty old man. Of course, there’s no excuse for that sort of sexist behavior, and I hope Burnett sues. Still, if this clip is any sample, leering at Burnett is certainly more rewarding than listening to her.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com