Major problem solved by Obama: He moves to end outrageous discrimination by movie theaters against blind and deaf
The Obama administration is nearing completion of a proposal to require that movie theaters offer technology so blind and deaf people can go to the cinema.
The draft rule, which is part of a decades-long effort by advocates for people with disabilities, would likely require thousands of movie theaters across the country to offer devices that display closed captioning and provide audio narration of what’s happening onscreen.
Disability associations say that the new regulation will make sure that blind and deaf people can appreciate the latest blockbuster just like everyone else.
But theater owners worry that a federal mandate will force small, rural and struggling theaters to close given the costs associated with the rule. . . .
The upcoming proposal from the Justice Department is expected to require that a certain percentage of the more than 40,000 movie screens across the country offer headsets that provide a running commentary of visual action for the blind, glasses that display closed captioning for the deaf or other devices to explain what’s happening onscreen. . . .By definition this fails the cost-benefit test. The question is what the blind would have been willing to pay and whether that would have been larger than the cost of providing these services. If they were willing to pay enough, we would see these services. Since none exist, they must not be willing to pay enough.
Here is another way of thinking about it. Suppose you gave all blind people an amount of money equal to cost of providing this service. What are the odds they would spend it on going to movie theaters? My guess is that only a small number of recipients would spend it on movies.