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Liberal Do-Gooders and The Law of Unintended Consequences

There is no law more powerful and constant than the law of unintended consequences.

Liberal do-gooders, who lead from their hearts instead of their brains, have a penchant for causing more harm than good. This is evidenced throughout our history and is well documented. The main problem is that we are only permitted to judge them by their intentions and NEVER by the outcome.

The New York Times did a piece by Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner (authors of “Freakinomics”) where they catalogued the many unintended consequences of liberal do-gooder programs.

First on deck is the Endangered Species Act of 1973. As you will see here, they are causing more harm than good.

Background on the E.S.A of 1973:
The act, in essence, says that if an endangered species takes up residence on your private/personal property, you effectively cease to own the property and the endangered species becomes the new owner.

The Unintended Consequence:
A landowner in Boiling Spring Lakes, North Carolina noticed that the Red Cockaded Woodpecker began to take up residence in his old-growth pine trees so he was faced with a dilemma. Leave the trees and Woodpeckers alone and sacrifice his ownership in the property or cut the trees down.

The landowner decided to cut the trees down. In essence, he chased the Woodpeckers from their nests, possibly killing some of them not to mention the carnage of the trees.

A 1996 developers’ guide from the National Association of Home Builders is quoted as saying: “The highest level of assurance that a property owner will not face an E.S.A. issue is to maintain the property in a condition such that protected species cannot occupy the property.” So, the Do-Gooder liberals caused the death of trees and possibly the very species they intended to protect.

Another do-gooder liberal plan that caused some pain and its benefits cannot yet be quantified is the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Background on the ADA:
This law, among many other things, states that physicians are responsible for the out of pocket expenses associated with language translators for patients who either cannot understand English or are deaf.

The Unintended Consequence:

Dr. Andrew Brooks, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles was confronted with a deaf patient that was having serious knee trouble. She wanted to know if her deafness posed a problem for Brooks. He told her that he did not because he could use knee models and written notes to communicate with her.

This patient called again to say she would rather have a sign-language interpreter. Dr. Brooks made arrangements for a sign language interpreter. The interpreter would cost $120 an hour, with a two-hour minimum, and the expense wasn’t covered by insurance. Dr. Brooks wanted the patient to pay for the interpreter or do without it. That’s when she told him that the Americans With Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) allowed a patient to choose the mode of interpretation, at the physician’s expense.

Brooks researched the law and found that he was indeed obliged to do as the patient asked — unless, that he wanted to invite a lawsuit that he would lose.

That meant Dr. Brooks had to lay out $240 to conduct an exam for which the woman’s insurance company would pay him $58 — a loss of more than $180 even before accounting for taxes and overhead.

Dr. Brooks would be paid about $1,200 if surgery was the only option. But he would also then need to see her for eight follow-up visits, presumably with the $240 interpreter each time. By the end of the patient’s treatment, Brooks would be solidly in the red.

He went ahead and examined the woman, paying the interpreter out of his pocket. As it turned out, she didn’t need surgery; her knee could be treated through physical therapy. This was a fortunate outcome for everyone involved — except, perhaps, for the physical therapist who would have to pay the interpreter’s bills.

What he did next was the unintended consequence. He told all of his colleagues and doctor friends what had happened and they all determined they would not take deaf patients.

Since the ADA passed in 1992, there has been a sharp drop in the employment of disabled persons because businesses are concerned that they would never be able to discipline or terminate the employment of any person who is disabled.

Now comes Barack Obama…the most do-gooding liberal of all. And he wants to take control of our health care system. How do you think that is going to work out?

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