You’d have to be a pretty cold-hearted SOB to take a horrible tragedy and use it as a lesson in economics and government stupidity.
At your service.
The local YMCA just avoided having its pool closed by committing to install $20-30,000 of equipment to comply with the “Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.” It’s named after a seven-year-old who was trapped and drowned in the suction from a spa drain.
Unfortunately, Virginia was the granddaughter of Secretary of State James Baker III. So instead of just a cautionary tale for parents, we got a law that misses the mark while adding thousands of dollars of costs to outfits like the YMCA. Which doesn’t even have the type of drain that creates this hazard.
As reported, this regulation affects around 500 public pools in Illinois. If the other 499 public pools in Illinois had to spend similar amounts, that’s over $10 million for Illinois. Rough that out over 50 states, and you’re nearing half a billion dollars.
I know — heartless. After all, how many lives will be saved because of our beneficent federal officials looking out for us?
Fair question. Maybe someone should’ve asked.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, from 1999-2010, twelve people died in this kind of accident. However, only four were in public pools. Private facilities — like the one Virginia Graeme Baker drowned in — aren’t covered by the bill.
Is it really a good idea to allocate half a billion dollars to maybe prevent one death every three or four years? What if we spent $5 each on warning signs, and the rest on guardrails or mammograms instead?
Resources are finite. Since they insist on deciding how they’ll be used instead of us, perhaps we should start holding the politicians accountable for them for a change.
Do it for your grandchildren.