Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How Your Government Creates Value

The Bush administration is preparing to issue proposed new standards for enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The new rules would increase requirements in many areas and address a number of new issues. Among them is a rule that at least half of the holes on miniature golf courses must be accessible to people using wheelchairs. Furthermore, those holes must be connected by a continuous, unobstructed path. According to the Justice Department, as reported in this NY Times story, the value of the public benefits ($54 billion) are expected to exceed the costs ($23 billion).

So, how does one estimate the value of more accessible miniature golf for the disabled, you ask? You find yourself an economist, of course. According to economists hired by the DOJ, making miniature golf courses more accessible has a positive net present value of over $400 million. See this article from online magazine, Slate, for a discussion of the hocus pocus behind the calculations.

With the government and its economists creating this kind of value, look for the economy to be picking up steam again soon.

1 comment:

  1. You should read the article. The benefit-cost figures cited do not apply solely to the miniature golf case you highlight but also encompasses an array of other items.