Today is the deadline for U.S. retailers to unload any unsold cribs that don’t meet the federal government’s new safety standards. An estimated 100,000 cribs could be headed to the trash — even though they’ve never been declared unsafe or a hazard to children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had the opportunity to spare businesses of the expense at a special meeting two weeks ago. But the Democrat-led commission voted against extending the deadline. As a result, retailers stand to lose at least $32 million, according to the commission’s own estimates.

Commissioner Anne Northup, who argued for an extension, condemned the left’s assault on private enterprise in a 10-page statement on the controversy.

“I am truly at a loss to understand the motivation behind these actions,” Northup said. “At a time when small businesses are struggling to survive, this commission has refused to throw even a short lifeline to retailers that will now suffer at least tens of millions of dollars of losses.”

Retailers have the option of retrofitting cribs with new equipment and have them tested. But that process is believed to be cost-prohibitive, prompting many to instead dispose of the cribs.

The CPSC followed a congressional mandate to update the safety standards, but it gave manufacturers and retailers only six months to move their inventory. The agency never conducted a cost–benefit analysis.

According to a CPSC staff survey of five retailers at the end of May, an estimated 117,800 cribs faced disposal. Despite this alarming number, the CPSC voted 3–2 on June 16 to stick with today’s deadline.

Retailers might be suffering in the short term, but they’ll get a boost over the next 18 months when child care centers, family child care homes and hotels are required to replace all cribs that don’t meet the new standard — even those that pose no safety threat. That deadline is Dec. 28, 2012.

The government-mandated crib replacement program comes at a time when President Obama’s handling of the economy hit 37 percent—an all-time low—in the new McClatchy Newspapers-Marist poll.

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