Regulators go off the deep end

16 03 2012

Unseasonable temperatures have Michiganders thinking about hitting the pool a few months ahead of schedule. But if federal regulators had it their way, the local pool might have been shut down by the time the warmer months arrived.

As the Washington Times reports, this summer could have seen the closure of thousands of swimming pools nationwide as a result of new accessibility rules:

President Obama in 2010 dramatically expanded the rules for access under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the new regulations mean that every publicly accessible pool – from municipal facilities to hotels – must have two “accessible means of entry,” at least one of which must be a ramp or wheelchair lift. Spas must also have either a lift or a transfer system to help the disabled enter them, under the new rules.

What if I'm a hotel owner who just wants to be a complete dick to handicapped people?

It’s no surprise that you probably hadn’t heard of America’s impending “Pool-mageddon.” Government intervention has crept into every nook and cranny of our lives and livelihoods; how could a citizen ever keep track of the innumerable laws and regulations passed every year? Is it even possible to anticipate the unintended consequences of federal meddling, no matter how well-intentioned?

Realizing it could not afford another public relations disaster (pools in poor communities would likely be least able to afford the burden of installing ramps and lifts), the Obama Administration has graciously pushed back the accessibility compliance date – by two months.

Yet even if regulations on pools are eventually relaxed permanently, the government creates countless miniature “pool-mageddons” every day; sadly, most aren’t as visible – or as outrage inducing – as the recent attacks on our recreational facilities.

While we go about our daily lives, the bureaucratic beast grows ever more bloated and intrusive. The end results this unchecked growth are inevitable: the slow strangulation of our dynamic economy and the gradual extermination of our individual liberties. We can’t afford to take the plunge into statism – there’s a lot more than our pools at stake if we do.

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