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UN promoting global ADA.

In 1990, the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a measure that placed literally every millimeter of every business under federal regulatory scrutiny. Eleven years later, President Bush the younger proudly announced an expansion of the ADA, an initiative that would have prompted a full-scale revolt among congressional Republicans had it been proposed under Bill Clinton.

Businesses have been required to spend billions of dollars to accommodate disabled employees; employers are required to make provision for handicaps while at the same time being forbidden by the ADA to inquire about them. The measure was designed to invite hugely expensive litigation, and ADA lawsuits have resulted in novel definitions of the term "disability." For example, after an executive of Coca-Cola Company was fired for drunken behavior at a company function, he filed a lawsuit "because under the ADA alcoholism is a disability," recounts Michael Fumento, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The "disabled" plaintiff was awarded $1 million in lost salary and $6 million in punitive damages. Often derided as the "full employment for trial attorneys act," the ADA has done more than its share to help kill American businesses or drive them offshore.

Now the UN seeks to promote the blessings of the ADA worldwide through a proposed global convention on disabilities.

Discrimination against the handicapped is "unacceptable in a caring world community," contended Dick Thornburgh and Alan Reich in a November 7 Washington Post op-ed column. Thornburgh is a former U.S. attorney general and former UN undersecretary general; Reich is a former deputy assistant secretary of state. They maintain that the U.S. must send "an appropriate delegation of U.S. leaders with disabilities to represent our government and deliver the message that the United States will support the convention" when the drafting committee meets in January.

While the Bush administration is not opposed to the UN pact, it has stated that it will not seek U.S. ratification, since it is simply a global version of the ADA. But Thornburgh and Reich insist that this is not "a sufficiently worthy and engaged response to so significant a global initiative from the one nation that all the others view as the pioneer of disability rights."
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Title Annotation:Insider Report; Americans with Disabilities Act
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 10, 2005
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