Daniel J. Mitchell | Apr 20, 2014
If you had to pick the most inane, pointless, and intrusive example of government stupidity, what would you pick?
We have lots of examples of regulators running amok.
- Regulations making it difficult for trucking firms to weed out drunk drivers.
- Year-long sting operations by federal milk police.
- Rules harassing coffee shops with bikini-clad sales staff.
- OSHA requirements for expensive safety harnesses for people working 11 feet off the ground.
But we also have really absurd examples of wasteful spending.
- Forcing taxpayers to pay millions of dollars for pro-Obamacare and pro-IRS propaganda.
- Doing interviews – at a per-person cost of $6,000 – about erectile dysfunction and sticking the tab on us.
- Giving disability benefits to a grown man who wants to wear diapers and live as an “adult baby.”
- Squandering $400K on experimental underwear that detect cigarette smoke.
- Paying 35 times the market price for some Kindles.
- A $100,000 library grant to a city without a library.
- Throwing $100 million in the garbage by subsidizing a leftist bureaucracy in Paris that advocates for higher taxes in the United States.
We even have examples of government stupidity that can be characterized as a combination of wasteful spending and foolish regulation, such as one part of the government squandering money on research about how to encourage condom use by providing prophylactics of different sizes while another part of the government has regulations preventing the private sector from providing prophylactics of different sizes.
Today’s post, however, could win a prize for the most profound and disturbing example of government stupidity. It mixes foolish red tape with over-the-top political correctness.
Here are some jaw-dropping details of the federal government running amok in Michigan.
A set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys’ baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal. A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard. But, after someone complained to the U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, an investigated by the department determined the new addition was no longer equal to the girls’ softball field next door, which has old bleachers and an old scoreboard.
This is utterly absurd for several reasons, most notably that the federal government shouldn’t have any role in education, much less efforts to micro-manage high school sports facilities.
But even if one accepts that Washington bureaucrats should interfere in such matters, it’s important to understand that it is bureaucratic lunacy to interpret “Title IX requirements to offer equal athletic opportunities to both boys and girls” to somehow mean equal seating.
What happens if there are fewer people who want to watch female sports? Should there be a requirement to build bleachers that are mostly empty?
Or maybe we can blend Obamacare to Title IX and create a mandate that parents and others in the community have to attend female sporting events 50 percent of the time?
Actually, I shouldn’t even joke about such an idea, lest some bureaucrat think it’s a serious proposal.
P.S. The Keynesians will be happy. They like it when wealth and/or capital is destroyed since that supposedly forces “stimulative” rebuilding exercises.