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So, I sold all my stock and quit the stressful job. My wife got a fancy five-string fiddle to play with and I got a Powermatic 3520B, a set of lathe chisels and a chuck. They are all oh so shiny (ooooh, aaaaah).
Problem is, I've never turned anything in my life. My wife can sure pull that bow so clearly that was money well spent. But she's raising an eyebrow at that as yet to be productive lathe.
So if you want a book review from a complete neophyte I may be a decent candidate.
I've worked in health policy for my entire career, specifically in the regulatory process, both within and without the government, and I am very curious to see how the CPSC will act in this particular situation.
The Commission has come under some pretty severe criticism in the last couple of years for failures around safety in toys in particular. There was the lead laced paint thing. The congress held a couple of hearings on the issue and then gave the Commission more money and a specific mandate to look more at that, and there was a spate of articles in the news about how overworked and underfunded they had been. So politically speaking, they have been under fire and there may well be a tendency to lean toward protecting safety rather than our wallets, if that is the choice they are fundamentally presented with.
The math about the cost of the injuries is pretty compelling stuff, from a public policy standpoint. Think about it from an economic position and you see that the cost of the injuries outweighs the cost of the saws. Then consider that a certain percentage of those costs are borne by public health programs (Medicare, Medicaid, VA/DOD programs, etc.) Consider also that it drives up workers comp costs because insurance actuaries are going to take this sort of thing into account.
There are all kinds of areas where statutory and regulatory provisions dictate safety measures that cost money. Anything from guardrails on scaffolding on a building site to purity and efficacy of drugs. Heck, the whole point of the existence of the CPSC is to make sure that products are safe for public use. And frankly, I don't want my kids chewing on any lead laced toys, so I'm generally glad they do what they do. I'm not so sure I'd want all of those safety requirements to go away. I also am unsure how compelling the argument that accidents are the fault of users will be. If people were flawless, it might make sense. But we're not, and some of us are going to stick our hands into the blades, even if we're experienced, paying attention, and are using guards. It's just GOING to happen.
I guess the question I would ask of those who advocate no role for the government here is, where should the line be drawn? How do you know when the government is going too far in terms of protecting your safety? I would suggest that that line is not terribly bright and clear, but would be interested to know what others think.
I would second TedFurlong's recommendation of "Shop Class as Soulcraft." I read it last month and enjoyed it a good deal. One argument that Crawford makes that particularly struck a chord with me is that craftwork is, in a fundamental way, more honest than a lot of white collar types of jobs because the physical object created by the craftsman is an unassailable demonstration of skills. As Crawford puts it, the shop forman can grab the piece and whip out his micrometer and see whether the machinist has or has not performed to spec. There is no corporate lingo, business jargon, or fuzzy language that can change whether or not the piece is what it ought to be.
I like the idea of setting it up with a bunch of "rejected" pulp fiction on the floor. An amusing statement.
I am curious to know how the thing keeps from tipping over if all of the books are removed. Did you weight it somehow, or affix it to the floor/wall?
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