Human Events Blog

Poolmageddon

 

Do you ever get the feeling that Barack Obama’s ever-expanding super-government is reaching its tendrils into every nook and cranny of your life?  Well, maybe a quick dip in community pool will help to calm your nerves.

Or maybe not.  You see, today is “Poolmageddon” – the day when sweeping new regulations governing the provision of handicapped lifts for public swimming pools go into effect.  The rule, which Eric Holder’s Justice Department somehow found time to promulgate in between gun-running excursions to Mexico, says that “all public access swimming pools must provide a lift capable of moving disabled patrons from their wheelchairs into the water,” according to the Washington Examiner.

This led to some confusion among the targets of our berserk hyper-regulatory government:

Compliance with the rule requires pool owners to have a lift for each “water element” in their facility. So if your local community pool also has a spa, both the spa and the pool must be “accessible.” But if you have two spas, don’t worry, only one lift is required.

In fact, most people in the swimming pool industry thought that one portable lift would be enough. Pool owners claim they were led to believe that, as long as they had one device that could be wheeled out whenever someone needed help getting into or out of a pool or spa, there would be no need intrusive permanent fixtures.

But then industry leaders began hearing rumors last year that Obama’s DOJ would require permanently fixed lifts for each pool and spa. They began to write letters to DOJ asking for clarification on the issue.

And, eventually, the Leviathan got around to providing that clarification: yes indeedy, “all 300,000 public pools in the United States must install a permanent fixed lift.” 

Not only were the formally free people of the U.S. pool industry hammered by an arbitrary law they didn’t understand, whose parameters were kept vague for years, but once the law was clarified, obedience turned out to be literally impossible.  There aren’t enough pool lifts to install, or installers to install them, even assuming every hotel in the country stands ready to cough up between $8000 and $20,000 for installation.

This is the essence of tyranny: imposing vague laws that instantly turn everyone into a criminal, because compliance is anywhere from ridiculously burdensome to flatly impossible.  But rest assured this is not random tyranny, because a key Obama constituency stands to make a great deal of money as poolside vigilantes:

So what happens tomorrow when a disabled individual checks into a Holiday Inn and finds no lift at the pool? The Obama DOJ has said it will not be enforcing the new guidelines right away. That means no fines from the government, for now.

But the ADA also empowered citizens to sue businesses that are not in compliance with DOJ guidelines. The result will be a huge payday for enterprising trial lawyers everywhere.

The enforcement is going to be by litigation,” said Kevin Maher, senior vice president of governmental affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “A lot of drive-by lawsuits against business by law firms that are set up file to file spurious ADA claims.”

These firms “often file lawsuits against every business in the community. A lot of times they are not even looking for businesses to comply with the ADA, they are just looking for a quick cash settlement to go away,” Maher explained.

(Emphasis mine.)  And if businesses did install this absurd armada of pool lifts, they’d find themselves on the hook for every hyperactive child who proceeded to injure himself on one.  It’s win-win for trial lawyers, whose $45 million investment in the Obama campaign back in 2008 is paying handsome dividends.

But, to borrow the twisted language of modern “liberal” tyranny, at least everyone will be “guaranteed access” to a pool lift!  Of course, it would be cheaper and simpler to shut down all the public pools, so everyone will be guaranteed equal access to diddly-squat.  It’s a triumph of re-distribution!

 

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