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Drowning in irresponsibility

Citizens Beware

Two Mesa parents, whose child tragically drowned in a pool, want the federal government to require the installation of safety fences around all swimming pools, including pools in walled backyards.  Is this a good or bad idea?  Before answering, let me first answer two other questions.

Question 1:  What's the source of the notion that if Person A acts irresponsibly, Person B should have to pay?  Answer:  A half-century of bleeding-heart thinking 

As a result, many Americans now believe that if Person A's child drowns because Person A didn't keep an eye on her child and didn't invest in safety measures, Person B should be forced to install a safety fence around his pool, even if he doesn't have young children.

The same thinking is behind the notion that Person B should be forced to pay for air bags because Person A doesn't wear a seat belt and is impaled on the steering column.  Similar thinking is behind a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulation, which requires all new vehicles to be equipped with automatic tire sensors in 2008, at a first-year cost of $13 billion, because Person A is too lazy to check his tire pressure.

Question 2:  Why don't bleeding hearts conduct a cost-benefit analysis of proposed safety regulations?

Answer:  So that when the cost of living goes up, they can complain that workers are having trouble making ends meet and can then advocate that money be taken from Person B and redistributed to Person A.

Incidentally, I have conducted my own cost-benefit analysis of automatic tire sensors, based on NHTSA data.  The cost will be $9.8 million per saved life.  In other words, because Person A doesn't value his life enough to purchase a hand-held tire gauge for less than $10, the rest of us have to pay $9.8 million to save the dumbbell's life.

The local cost of mandatory pool fences is more difficult to calculate, but is roughly $420 million, assuming that there are 300,000 pools without safety fences in metro Phoenix and that the average cost of a safety fence is $1,400.

I'll now answer the opening question:  No, the rest of us shouldn't be forced to spend $420 million because Person A doesn't think his child's life is worth the $1,400 cost of a pool fence or the zero cost of parental vigilance.

By Craig J. Cantoni
The Arizona Republic
May 4, 2005







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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM