Ross Douthat, “Did The Americans With Disabilities Act Work?”

Continuing the discussion from my Cato piece earlier this week [New York Times, citing Jonathan Cohn/New Republic; Foster’s Daily Democrat (New Hampshire), Mark Perry]. Other links and reactions on the more recent Chipotle decision: Ann Coulter (right links column), George Leef/John Locke, Above the Law, Zincavage, Perry, Fisher/Atlantic Wire. Pat Cleary points out that the top source of ADA charges before the EEOC remains back injuries, followed by pain, stiffness or loss of movement in bones or joints, and depression. And at Richard Epstein’s piece at Ricochet, commenter Duane Oyen tells the story of ADA’s arguably perverse effects on a shuttle bus service in Minneapolis-St. Paul.


  • Jonathan Cohn gives the Republicans too much credit: a large expansion to the ADA passed just a year ago with enthusiastic Republican support. Of course, Cohn views opposing the ADA as evidence of unreasonableness.

  • Walter Olsen’s essay on CATO @ Liberty was great.

    I have worked on three elections at a polling station with a machine for disabled voters. The machine has yet to be used, yet two people were assigned to the machine. ADA can help only those who are disabled somewhat. The patient with advanced Alzheimer’s disease would be an example of a disabled person who is not helped by ADA. Those who want extra time on the SAT or other test are seldom disabled enough to deserve the help of ADA.

    I hope that somebody at CATO or elsewhere can do a study of cost per use of ADA. I suspect it would be quite high.