• What's in all the laws?

      Every year, federal government bureaucrats work hard to come up with some 80,000 pages of new and proposed regulations. That's a lot of pages -- 23 feet high if you stack them in one pile.

      One rule that just went effect, which you can find by flipping to page 56,236 of the 2010 regulations, will require all hotels with a pool -- or a hot tub -- to install wheelchair accessible ramps or lifts into the water.

      As regulators note: "Struggling ...to enter a swimming pool ... negatively affect[s] a person's sense of independence."

      But because of another monster law, the Americans With Disabilities Act, hotels already have portable ramps that can be placed in the pool at the request of a handicapped person. They're rarely used.

      "We've never used our pool lift... Not in 15 years," Greg Miller, the manager of the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, told us.

      Despite that, this year, the Department of Justice, constantly issuing new regulations, decided that portable pool lifts are no longer enough. Every resort must now add a permanent ramp or lift to every hot tub or pool, or face a fine of up to $55,000.

      The lifts are intrusive -- we'll start to see a lot of devices like this around pools. Miller estimates that his renovations, already underway, will cost $40,000.

      There are other consequences, too. Regulators admit that it's likely that fewer people will use pools with ramps in them "because the new requirements for a sloped entry might make the pool too shallow."

      They also admitted: "Since litigation risk could increase, entities could spend more on legal fees than in the past."

      More money for lawyers! Fewer people swimming! Higher hotel room charges! They are a few of the things we get from the 80,000 pages of new government we got this year.

      TAGS
      Regulation
      Unintended Consequences