Chips are also being used increasingly in the UK when officials could do just as good a job. But, it's only 'stupid' if there is a genuine alternative.
However... there aren't enough officials. Increasingly, people retire from their running careers and have no further involvement with the sport. It's very hard for runners' complaints to have any weight when they're doing nothing to rectify the situation. Admittedly, in this country, there is a much less institutionalised high school / university structure than in the US, so there is a much greater reliance on volunteers.
I see your point in a way but disagree as to it's application here. I've seen a couple competent people run a shoot with 100s of finishers. I've also seen a whole crew of idiots screw up a finish line with less than 100. As an earlier poster said, chips are good way to time, but not judge a finisher's place. There should always be a finish order done by humans... well competent humans.