Be Prepared

On November 1, The Seattle Times reported that a potentially ruinous wave of sex abuse lawsuits prompted the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to increase the annual youth membership fee by more than 80% to cover rising operating costs, notably liability insurance. When I was a Boy Scout, we used to quote the left eye saying to the right eye: “Between you and me, something smells.” The concept of having users pay for services is grounded in logic. Tolls on highways and permits to hike and camp make a certain amount of sense. But the idea of having Boy Scouts pay the exorbitant costs associated with their abuse creates an image problem. The model may work well on a financial sheet but is not easily sustained and explained by an organization in charge of guiding and helping youth. Even if BSA had attributed the significant cost increases to rigorous new screening and safety measures, it would still be bad publicity for an organization desperately needing to be above reproach. Funding bigger settlements is a concession that BSA still cannot control the problem. This is technically consistent with the Scout Motto. And I do not offer a better plan. My job is to complain about things, then Elizabeth Warren draws up plans, and world leaders help us elect Donald Trump to implement them.

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