A congressman called this ramp 'government waste.' It didn't go well for him.

The Capitol Reflecting Pool: a serene, welcoming sight for stressed-out members of Congress and their aides as they hurry to work each morning.

And a serene, welcoming refuge for the ducks that call it home.

The pool's appeal to the mallards of D.C. is clear: open air, clean water — a nice, calm place to live.

The downside: Because the pool is enclosed by a small limestone ridge, ducklings have a hard time getting in and out.

Unlike most problems in Washington, however, this one had a fairly straightforward solution.

The Architect of the Capitol, the agency in charge of maintaining the pool, appropriated a couple of bucks and built two cheap little ramps for the lil' guys to climb:

Photo by the Architect of the Capitol.

All good, right?

Apparently, not for everyone, because ... Washington.

The site of the ramp appeared to perplex and infuriate Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, who took to social media to express his displeasure.  

Where the pool stewards saw an inexpensive, simple fix to improve the lives of a few dozen ducklings, the congressman apparently saw a wanton misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Needless to say, however, some people on Twitter were ... confused.

Most people simply did not see what the congressman saw. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Turns out, a good number of Americans aren't opposed to spending somewhere south of $0.000000001 of their tax dollars on small solutions that actually work.

Skepticism of excessive government spending is healthy — but it's not "waste" if the spending actually solves problems.

"The ducks have an uncanny ability to locate a way out of the water, if one is provided," Anne Lewis, president of animal welfare organization City Wildlife, said in a statement defending the ramps.

"We can never truly predict their behavior, but our goal is to provide them the means to get in and out of the water, which is what they need to do in the wild to protect their duckling from becoming waterlogged or cold."

Agreeing on cheap solutions to small problems might even help us come together to fix the bigger, more controversial ones.

Solving issues like health care and taxes will require enormous amounts of effort and, ultimately, compromise. Most critically, solving them will require the government to work and, yes, spend money.

Building duck ramps is a small but real example of why it's important to have a working government. Programs like this may not turn a profit — which might make them seem like "waste." But that's not the point.

The goal is simply to make people's — and waterfowl's — lives a little easier.

Ultimately, uniting as Americans to agree to help a few ducklings find their way home is the least we can do.

Photo by skeeze/Pixabay.

Not to mention, photographic evidence proves the spending was efficient!

Waddle on, baby ducks. Waddle on.

Correction 5/17/2017: This story originally stated that the ramps were installed at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The ramps were actually installed at the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Microsoft Office

This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


Last Christmas, Alex got exactly what he always wanted: a new "robo" arm.

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