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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:The ADA vs. Opportunity

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In a book review of Russell Redenbaugh's Shift the Narrative, John Tamny notes that its author, blinded during high school, might not have had much of a chance to prosper had the Americans with Disabilities Act been law shortly after his graduation:

arriers to Redenbaugh's self-reliant, working narrative continued to reveal themselves. While his fellow classmates were inundated with suitors during year two, Redenbaugh "had forty-nine job interviews and not a single offer." Finally Cooke & Bieler, a then small investment counseling firm in Philadelphia made him a Wharton-style hard pitch: they offered him a job while telling Redenbaugh that "if it doesn't work you'll have to leave." By the 1970s, Wharton's first blind MBA was the firm's chief investment officer, partner, and its biggest revenue producer.

Interesting here is that Redenbaugh notes how the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would have rendered illegal Cooke & Bieler's conditional offer. Despite that, he laments the ADA's passage. Redenbaugh believes a principal driver of rising unemployment for the disabled springs from firms being reluctant to take risks on them in the first place. It's difficult to hire those whom it's similarly difficult to fire.
Like countless unskilled workers who are willing to compete on price and are shut out of the labor market by minimum wage laws, disabled Americans (and their potential employers) are being robbed of opportunity by being legally barred from making themselves more competitive.

That the government feels the need to stick its nose into any contractual agreement between consenting adults (that doesn't violate individual rights) is bad enough. The fact that it does so in the name of "helping" someone with a disadvantage -- and makes things worse than they already are -- is an outrage.

-- CAV

P.S. In the name of even-handedness, I must acknowledge the following:
[T]he architectural standardization brought on by ADA requirements, he mentioned, which tend to put things like door handles (easier to manipulate than knobs) in rote places, were a boon for unauthorized entry.
So, to be fair, the ADA actually does create opportunities for some people.

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