If someone from Public Notice asked me whether this was an example of real or fake government spending, I would have unhesitatingly cried, “Fake!” But I would have been wrong. The Department of Labor really did spend taxpayer dollars — though just how many is not quite clear — to develop a Smartphone application to inform outdoor workers whether it’s hot outside.
The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new “Heat Safety Tool,” designed for outdoor workers who are already outside, tells workers the temperature and humidity level of where they’re at. From that data, the app calculates the “heat index” and “risk level” for workers in the given location.
Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government, the group that first criticized OSHA’s new “Heat Safety Tool” as a waste of taxpayer money, says the app doesn’t provide workers with any useful information that isn’t already common knowledge. Manning said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is using taxpayer money to state the obvious to outdoor workers: it’s hot in the summer.
“Next thing we know, Solis’s Labor Department will come out with an app that tells swimmers that water is wet,” Manning said. “This is absurd. What a waste.”
So an app exists for everything, after all! Just goes to show that, sometimes, old-fashioned methods are better anyway. The Obama campaign and his subsequent administration have shown a willingness to embrace technology — but the president and his advisors prove time and time again they’re out of touch with some basic truths, from the inescapable fact that the country can’t spend its way out of debt to the political reality that, optically, it’s better to buy an American-made bus to travel the country to promote American jobs to, now, the strikingly obvious actuality that most people are, in fact, able to tell whether it’s hot outside — when they are outside.