Nanny of the Month

Sen. Feinstein's Office Objects to 'Nanny of the Month' Depiction

Questions over how burdensome new regulations would be for small soap makers.

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The Nanny of the Month episode for May (above) highlighted the Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Sen. Feinstein's office explains that bill is designed to "to protect consumers and streamline industry compliance by strengthening the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authority to regulate the ingredients in personal care products."

However, the Nanny of the Month video I produced argued that, if passed, the bill would hurt small-time makers of personal care products like cosmetics and soaps by burdening them with fees and reporting requirements. These entrepreneurs are mostly women who operate their businesses out of their homes or farms, and use ingredients like honey, oatmeal, and coconut oil in their products.

After the episode aired I received the following email from Sen. Feinstein's deputy press secretary:

Hi, Ted

I saw your video on my boss' Personal Care Products Safety Act—it completely ignores the bill's small business protections and does not fairly represent what it would do.

* Companies selling less than $100,000 per year do not have to do anything—they do not have to register with FDA.

* Companies selling less than $500,000 per year do not have to pay ANY fee.

* The fee will be no more than $250 for small businesses selling between $500,000 and $2.5 million per year.

Additional information is available here.

If you have any additional questions, I'm happy to answer them.

(Emphasis in original.)

Viewers can decide for themselves if Sen. Feinstein deserves to be named "Nanny of the Month."

Official photo

I thought that the exemptions carved out for small-time producers obscured the extent of the bill's reach because the were framed in terms of annual sales as opposed to annual income (one may enjoy big sales, but still earn a relatively small income).

I contacted the Handmade Cosmetic Alliance (HCA), which describes itself as "an organization that advocates on behalf of nearly 300,000 primarily woman-owned small handmade cosmetic businesses." The HCA opposes the Feinstein-Collins bill, and HCA spokeswoman Mary Anne Walsh provided me with greater context as to why her organization regards the bill as a threat.

Walsh explained that the HCA had engaged in rather extensive dialogue with Sen. Feinstein's office about the bill, and was left frustrated by the experience. Much of the disagreement seems to boil down to the difference between sales and income.

According to Walsh, the exemption from fees and reporting requirements was originally set at companies making less than $50,000 in annual sales. Why that figure? The Small Business Administration places the average annual income of a small business at approximately $48,000. The authors of the bill took that figure and (in a move they regarded as generous) rounded up to $50,000.

"But sales does not translate to income," Walsh notes, "and that was our challenge to them. At $50,000 in sales you talking about maybe $10,000 in income. It was just crazy."

Eventually the threshold was raised to $100,000, but the HCA was far from satisfied.

"At $100,000 in sales, your income is no more than $15,000 or $20,000," says Walsh. "I was just stunned that we could not reach them."

What about fees? Feinstein's office notes that companies making less than $500,000 in sales are not subject to fees, and that fees would be no more than $250 for businesses that fall between $500,000 and $2,500,000 in annual sales.

Again, Walsh pointed to the difference between sales and income and illustrated the issue with a woman she met at a Maryland farmers market. Although the Maryland woman's annual sales of homemade personal care products exceeded $500,000, her income stood at $62,000. The woman's husband and two teenage daughters both work for the business, and the business is the family's only source of income. A fee of $250 may not sound like much to some people, but Walsh contends that it's a different story when you're a family of four living on a modest income in an expensive region and paying tuition for your daughters.

However, the costliest aspect of the bill may be the reporting requirements.

Walsh notes that whenever an entrepreneur changes ingredients—adds a little more honey or makes soap with almond oil instead of coconut oil—the bill would require her to log onto the FDA website to fill out a product ingredient statement.

Walsh says the FDA website is often very slow, but even if you caught it on a good day and spent only, say, 10 minutes completing the statement, the cumulative effect could be crushing for small entrepreneurs who might have to fill out hundreds of statements per week.

"Look at the time," says Walsh. "Ten minutes times 100. You're now at 1,000 minutes. One person is going to spend one or two days per week just doing product ingredient statements? How is that going to impact that family making $62,000?"

According to Walsh, the bill aims to solve a problem that does not exist. She notes that HCA members are not splitting atoms. They're using safe ingredients that are available at grocery stores, and they provide ingredient labels on their products.

This brings up a point that can't be addressed via cost-benefit analyses: Why exactly should anyone, including business owners, have to report so much information to the government in the first place? It's not as if the people subjected to filing requirements have run afoul of their customers.

Walsh does see a silver lining. Since the Personal Care Product Safety Act was introduced, HCA membership has swelled from 6,500 to more than 10,000. And she says these days she sees independent cosmetics makers and their customers circulating HCA's petition at farmers markets.

Walsh says she used to think that the woman she saw at farmers markets were hobbyists, but now she knows she was wrong. "The reality is this is their livelihood," she says.

"They take such pride in the products they make. They want to be independent. This is truly the American entrepreneurial spirit in its finest form."

(For additional context, watch or read congressional testimony from HCA Founder Debbie May as she addresses a similar 2012 bill.)

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65 responses to “Sen. Feinstein's Office Objects to 'Nanny of the Month' Depiction

  1. “Hi, Ted

    “I saw your video on my boss’ Personal Care Products Safety Act?it completely ignores the bill’s provisions which we claim will benefit small business. The fact that our claims are wrong and are based on a confusion between sales and income doesn’t reflect on us, because we’re too stupid to know any better. Alternatively, we know the difference but are simply hoping nobody notices the deception. In either case, I don’t see any reason to blame us.”

  2. * Companies selling less than $100,000 per year do not have to do anything?they do not have to register with FDA.

    That’s nice, but it doesn’t take a lot of sales to hit $8K/month.

    * Companies selling less than $500,000 per year do not have to pay ANY fee.

    But they still have to register. And, this completely elides that fact that law imposes requirements on any “responsible person”, with no reference to the number of sales. Those requirements are mostly FDA regs to be drafted later. How burdensome will those be?

    * The fee will be no more than $250 for small businesses selling between $500,000 and $2.5 million per year.

    Great. What will the cost of complying with the regulations be?

    Nice of Feinstein’s staff to pretend that the only thing this bill does is require registration for a small fee. That’s not all it does, by a longshot.

    1. And it essentially tells these small businesses “Stay small OR ELSE! Remain in your caste, plebe!”

    2. Those requirements are mostly FDA regs to be drafted later. How burdensome will those be?

      This is the point, those regulations will metastasize into monstrous encumbrances exactly like all the other regulations in the morass of bureaucratic alphabet soup.

      Why does every goddam law passed by these busybodies have to be a mini Erm?chtigungsgesetz?

  3. HAHAHHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAH. *breath* HAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    My god, this is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen. To quote the inestimable John Lovitz: “If I had your job, I’d kill myself!”

    1. Is that depicting the future California High Speed Rail?

  4. Honestly, if I were a small business, I’d just ignore this crap, anyway.

    Does anyone think there are going to be honest to god human beings on the other end reading those FDA documents? They are going to be piled away somewhere with most never being read.

    1. A nameless number on a list that was afterwards mislaid.

    2. No.

      If you ignore it, you will be marked as ‘not one of the sheep’ and hunted down.

    3. To be read only when your business get sued for an alleged product liability tort, then any errors you made on the unread report will incriminate you.

  5. “Sen. Feinstein’s office explains that bill is designed to …”

    Here’s a clue. It doesn’t matter what you *designed* the bill to do, it matters what it *does*.

    “strengthening the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate”

    Giving the FDA more “authority to regulate” fucks us, whatever you may claim it was *designed* to do.

    1. I’m actually kind of heartened. That suggests to me that they might actually be aware of the phenomenon of unintended consequences and could be on a path to actually thinking through their legislative offerings rather than just putting forth whatever the lobbyists slap down on their desks.

      Yeah, who am I kidding.

      1. It’s more – the huddled masses aren’t feeling the love and I may have to retire

  6. Oh no, you got the attention of Feinstein’s office staff! Next thing you know, Feinstein herself will be looking for ways to screw with Reason. After all, if she weren’t busy poking into everybody’s business, how could she tell her constituents that she was doing a good job of “governing”?

    1. Never underestimate a sitting senator who will actually say “None of your rights are absolute.”

  7. “They take such pride in the products they make. They want to be independent. This is truly the American entrepreneurial spirit in its finest form.”

    Which is precisely why they must be stopped. –DF

  8. Dear Senator Feinstein;

    If you are going to be active in politics, you are going to get criticized. Get used to it. The notion that regulations have little or no cost is one for dope-smoking parities late nights in the freshman dorms. It has no place in national politics. Either you are contemptuous of your constituents, and don’t believe they understand this, or you are a dolt.

    And, BTW, how much did Proctor and Gamble donate to you in return for this competition-killing piece of trash?

    1. “Either you are contemptuous of your constituents, and don’t believe they understand this, or you are a dolt.”

      It can’t be both?

    2. Tom’s of Maine probably bought Collins, because I don’t think there are actually any other companies in Maine. Lobsters and hippy personal care products are their entire economy.

      1. LL Bean. Bath Iron Works. Cianboro. Several paper mills.

        1. Yeah, I was going to say LL Bean, too. Still the best USA Made boots for under a Benjamin.

  9. Feinstein still has her “Lifetime Nanny” achievement award.

    Nothing can take that away.

  10. Dear Senator Feinstein,

    Fuck you, cut spending.

    That is all.

    Sincerely,
    Your fucking bosses, the American public.

  11. Across the Ohio ,WV has a B2O tax.Business and occupation .It is based on your gross.You get a exemption on part of the gross depending on your occupation.It’s a bull shit unfair tax,as is this.Picking who you rape by gross income should never be done.If it’s good for one it’s good for all.We all know though these types of laws drive out the small guy in favor of the large company with money to lobby.

    1. “drive out the small guy in favor of the large company with money to lobby.

      And can afford the staff to fill out the damn paperwork.

      One of the things I liked about George McGovern is the way he came to realize that the paperwork burden that governments throw on businesses is almost impossible to manage.

      I used to call it the ‘just five minutes’ phenomenon: Every agency boasts that it ‘just takes five minutes per month’ to fill out their paperwork (NOT TRUE, btw, but we’ll accept it for argument). The problem is when you have 1500 agencies at all levels, that works out to 125 hours/month. (=approx 0.75 FTE)

    2. What do you think a sales tax is?

  12. In more important news, our valiant heroine may have mad a sex tape. I hope we can get to the bottom of this.

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/06…..-sex-tape/

    1. Oh, you had me worried there for a moment; after a Diane Feinstein sex tape, I would definitely throw up in my mouth.

      1. The cucumber couldn’t get it up.

    2. Yeah, mattress girl made a porno re-enacting her rape fantasies.

      Yawn.

      1. Wrong !!!!!!!111!!!

        yea……………..pretty sad.

  13. SEC. 111. SMALL BUSINESSES.
    Chapter VI of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 361 et seq.), as amended by section 110, is further amended by adding at the end the following: ”SEC. 619. SMALL BUSINESSES. ”The Commissioner, in coordination with the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, shall provide technical assistance, such as guidance and expertise, to small businesses regarding compliance with the Personal Care Products Safety Act, including the amendments made by such Act.

    Why would anyone ostensibly exempt need guidance? To evaluate whether they’re exempt? The dipshit calling Feinstein “boss” probably doesn’t realize that’s a burden in and of itself.

    1. “The dipshit calling Feinstein “boss” probably doesn’t realize that’s a burden in and of itself.”

      Oh no, he realizes it. That is the point of the law, after all. He just won’t admit it.

  14. Senator Feinstein’s office objected to this designation, so much so that she contacted the author?

    Geez, she probably has drones circling over Nick and Matt’s houses for making the “Enemies of Freedom” list.

    (Dianne, mumbling to herself -‘ you two bitches want to call me an “Enemy of Freedom”? Yeah, I’ll give you something to really bitch about, BITCHES!!!’)

  15. Listen Up Sen. Dianne Feinstein, I don’t need your stinkin’ gruberment to protect me !!

  16. I think “Nanny of the Month” is too kind. What about “Ugly Senile Rich Bitch of the Month”? Or would that be misogynistic?

  17. Why is Dianne suddenly so prickly about being the Designated Nanny?

    She’s a Democrat. That’s what Democrats do, for Christ’s sake. Tax and regulate all for the Great Good.

  18. “The American people are idiots and need gubment protections. Gubment is GOOD FOR US.

    Just don’t call them Nannies. That sounds harsh.

    Call them our ‘faithful public servants’, working hard on our behalf and for very little pay”.

    (note to Ted – I think she’ll call off the drone strike now)

  19. “Hi, Ted

    I saw your video on my boss’ Personal Care Products Safety Act?it completely ignores the bill’s small business protections and does not fairly represent what it would do.”

    Fucknut just assumes that this law is needed. Nowhere do I see a justification for this law. How many people are harmed every year by small soap makers? My guess; zero.

    This is nothing more than P&G and the like trying to capture the last scrap of the market by killing off cottage industries. I bet my ass that those manufacturers wrote the bill handed that and hefty donations to the witch and told her to get it passed.

    1. If you think this one’s bad, check out the EU, where (with no exemption for small biz) in the “personal care” biz (toiletries, cosmetics, even just plain soap) you have to register your biz as a mfr., register every product’s formula, & file a statement from a toxicologist on its safety, in advance of marketing, similarly to drugs & medical devices.

      1. Or check out Fla. For toiletries (except soap, narrowly defined) it’s like distilling booze there, in that you can’t mfr. out of a residence & have to be open to inspection. It forced the biz I’ve been selling my foaming formula to (Cocoa Pink, for their Meow intimate cleanser) to cut back to soap only & sell the rest of the biz to an outfit in Georgia.

  20. “If you have any additional questions, I’m happy to answer them.”

    I’ll bite: How dare you?

    Another: How do you sleep at night?

    One more: Does DiFi ever invite you to sleepovers in her hubby’s palatial estate paid for via a lifetime of cronyism?

  21. If DiFi doesn’t want to be known as nanny of the month, she ought to stop doing the stuff that gets her known as nanny of the month.
    Don’t bother trying to explain it away; don’t do it.

  22. The reality of this is that it is simply a money grabbing bill that, if used, will only be used in a targeted way against particular people.

    The FDA will never do much of anything to regulate these businesses since, for the most part, they don’t even involve themselves with the bigger cosmetic manufacturers. That industry basically regulates itself through professional organizations that basically have a gentlemens agreement to remain on the up and up. Basically they all agree to the same standards simply to keep the FDA out of their hair.

    I don’t think the FDA has actually inspected or cited a cosmetic manufacturer in many many years. So in short the bill won’t make anyone safer.

    1. The law will be used to target politically unsound producers. Remember Gibson guitars’ little interaction with authority?

      Nice little soap shop you got here. Shame if a SWAT team should pay it a visit.

      1. Homple|6.5.15 @ 10:20PM|#
        “The law will be used to target politically unsound producers.”

        Regardless of the particular aim, it will be SELECTIVELY enforced, and any law or reg selectively enforced is a bad one.
        Feinstein and her staff are too fucking stupid to understand that, and I say that as an SF voter. Are you listening, Sen. Feinstein’s deputy press secretary?
        Yes, that means you. And DiFi and the rest of you.

        1. Sevo. I think you mean DIAFF.

          “Die In A Fucking Fire”

  23. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

    ————- http://www.jobnet10.com

    1. “I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. ”
      Kiddie porn should pay more than that.

  24. Why don’t women like Diane Feinstein?

  25. FUCK OFF !!!

    What else needs to be said to our esteemed Senator ?

  26. Nanny of the Year?

  27. Fineswine is a cunt, and she knows full well that she introduced this legislation because some lobbyist for P&G wanted to screw over their smaller competitors.

    -jcr

  28. Why exactly should anyone, including business owners, have to report so much information to the government in the first place?

    Haha!! You kid, right?

    Here is the almighty govt, in all its glory, capturing MORE DATA than the NSA through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. No oversight. No review by Congress. No warrants needed. No recourse. No opt-outs.

    “Literally, this agency can investigate, can enforce, and can make the judgment against any individual company or individual citizen that they say is violating the law,” Wise told Watchdog.org this week as the U.S. Senate passed a bill to scale back the NSA’s sweeping surveillance of American phone records. President Obama signed the bill into law a few hours later.

    “The NSA only knows who you called and when you called them. The CFPB potentially knows where every single dollar of your money has been spent,” he said. “The CFPB can realistically know when your wife is pregnant before you do. All the NSA would know is when you called your wife last.”

  29. Are we supposed to feel better because they’ll exempt some? Just leave us all alone! I can buy soap without their help.

  30. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
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  31. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.worksite90.com

  32. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.www.netcash5.com

  33. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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  35. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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  37. Sounds like it’s time to stock up on carbolic soap.

    My hoard of 100 watt incandescent light bulbs needs some company.

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