Stossel and Good Intentions

John Stossel, in his program broadcast 9/2/2010 on the Fox Business Channel, covered the issue Good Intentions Gone Wrong on the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA).

As usual, Mr. Stossel does a good job explicating the unfortunate effects of a government program, the ADA. As is typical of Mr. Stossel, he makes the assumption Congress passed the ADA with good intentions. However, what reason is there to believe that the Congress passing the ADA was the result of good intentions?

To determine whether the ADA was a result of good intentions, you first have to have a definition of good intentions in the context of the actions of a member of Congress. First, each member of Congress has sworn to uphold the constitution. Whatever the liabilities of the constitution, Congress has sworn to uphold the agreement. The evidence that Congress has considered the strictures of the constitution when passing the ADA, or anything else, is pretty thin. To regulate the height of bathroom mirrors in restaurants based on the interstate commerce clause is equivalent to saying that there is no constitution.

Considerations of the constitution aside, each member of Congress is generally expected to pursue the interests of his constituents. Herein lies one of the problems. There is nothing that Congress can do that will benefit some group without applying a disability to someone else. The ADA is a good example. Even if the ADA benefited people with disabilities, an assumption challenged in the program, the ADA would impose manifest disabilities on the rest of the population. So, what balance of interests constitutes good intentions?

Consider the interests of Congress. Each member of Congress has an interest in increasing his own power and financial standing. In other words, each member of Congress naturally wants to, at the very least, win the next election. If the politician can achieve higher office, so much the better. So, the politician is motivated to do whatever will insure success in the next election. Insuring success in the next election has little or nothing to do with following the constitution, or adhering to any notions of liberty or justice.

While the politician is in office, and after the politician has left office, increasing his wealth is an obvious goal. In fact, members of Congress live very well on the public teat while in office, and often live even better after they leave office. If you can pass legislation favorable to particular industries, you can be cut in on all sorts of business deals.

So, why should anyone believe that Congress has good intentions? If you could read minds, you might be able to determine the intentions of Congress. Since you cannot read minds, you can only judge by the actions of Congress. Those actions hardly warrant the assumption of good intentions.

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Posted September 5, 2010 by Brian Cantin in Uncategorized

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