One thing I’ve learned over the years is that wanting to do the right thing isn’t enough. We also have to think about consequences. If things turn out badly, we can’t save the day by saying at least our intentions were good. Good intentions are not enough.
This is a lesson our political leaders have yet to absorb. They are often full of “good intentions.” So full of it that the minor matter of the consequences often gets lost in the fog. Recently we observed the 10th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, which introduced lots of laws about how we must make things easier for people with disabilities, and how we can all be sued if we do the wrong thing.
Sounds good. But lawyer Julie Hofius, who uses a wheelchair, says that ADA has more hurt than helped her. Why? Well, for one thing, firms are worried about lawsuits. If ADA weren’t there, a prospective employer would be able to openly ask questions during a job interview about how the disability might affect her capacity to do the job. And Ms. Hofius would then be able to give intelligent, responsive answers. But under ADA, employers are actually prohibited from asking such questions.
So it’s easier to take the path of least resistance, go through the motions, satisfy the legalities involved, and ultimately give the job to somebody else. Somebody who isn’t perceived as a “lawsuit on wheels,” as Julie puts it. Oh, our congressmen wanted to help. The president wanted to help. They didn’t, not really. But their intentions were the best.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.