Unintended Consequences

Great Moments in Unintended Consequences (Vol. 3)

Good intentions, bad results.

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Here are a few more of Reason's "great moments in unintended consequences," when something that sounds like a terrific idea goes horribly wrong.

Watch the whole series.

Window Wealth

The Year: 1696

The Problem: Britain needs money.

The Solution: Tax windows! A residence's number of windows increases with relative wealth and is easily observed and verified from afar. A perfect revenue generator is born! 

Sounds like a great idea! With the best of intentions. What could possibly go wrong?

To avoid higher taxes, houses were built with fewer windows, and existing windows were bricked up. Tenements were charged as single dwellings, putting them in a higher tax bracket, which then led to rising rents or windowless apartments. The lack of ventilation and sunlight led to greater disease prevalence, stunted growth, and one rather irate Charles Dickens

It took more than 150 years for politicians to see the error of their ways—perhaps because their view was blocked by bricks. 

Loonie Ladies

The Year: 1992

The Problem: Nude dancing is degrading to women and ruining the moral fabric of Alberta, Canada.

The Solution: Establish a one-meter buffer zone between patrons and dancers.

Sounds like total buzzkill! With puritanical intentions. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that dancers earn most of their money in the form of tips, and dollar bills don't fly through the air very well. Thus, the measure designed to protect dancers from degrading treatment resulted in "the loonie toss"—a creepy ritual where naked women are pelted with Canadian one-dollar coins, which are known as loonies.

Way to make the ladies feel special, Alberta. 

Gallant Grocers

The Year: 2021

The Problem: Local bureaucrats need to look like they care.

The Solution: Mandate that grocery stores provide "hero pay" to their workers.

Sounds like a great idea! With the best of intentions. What could possibly go wrong?

Besides the fact that these ordinances may preempt federal labor and equal protection laws, a 28 percent pay raise for employees can be catastrophic to grocery stores that traditionally operate on razor-thin margins. As a result, many underperforming stores closed, resulting in a "hero pay" of sudden unemployment.

Don't spend it all in one place!

Written and produced by Meredith and Austin Bragg; narrated by Austin Bragg

NEXT: Why COVID-19 May Be the Last Pandemic

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  1. Putting elderly covid+ patients into nursing homes…

    Phailing Phil Murphy, governut of the People’s Republic of NJ (among others)

    1. I remain unconvinced that the elderly dying of COVID because they were all shoved together into the same facility was unintentional. Cuomo knew full well what the consequences would be, he just wanted the problem out of sight of television cameras.

      1. Considering that older folks reliably vote more conservative than their younger counterparts, what you say cannot be entirely discounted.

        1. What better way to juice the death count justifying totalitarian government and a sham election?

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      2. Hey, Como solved the Social Security Solvency problem.

    2. The only issue with that and hero pay was that the initial intentions were bad. The polititions that implemented them wanted the Wuhan virus to hurt as much as possible to make trump look bad.

  2. Boost unemployment pay, job openings go unfilled. SleepyJoe says, we need moar unemployment benefits!

  3. Going off the gold standard.

    1. We were never on a real gold standard.

  4. Despite a year’s worth of articles on how extended unemployment benefits were going to cause more people to stop looking, the chicken came home to roost. And the media still refuse to contest Biden’s assertions. Lying bootlicking sacks of feckless cunts.

  5. Predictable consequences are never unintended.

    1. And phuck Phil Murphy!

      1. Yes. Fuck Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy.

    2. That is correct.

      The term “unintended consequence” (or ramification) is typically used by previous proponents of the disastrous laws and regulations as a way to cover their own asses (i.e. we didn’t know) from the criticism they deserve.

      Many/most undesirable consequences of disastrous public policies were/are pointed out (and even protested against) by rational and reasonable opponents of those policies, but arrogant government officials (who were/are typically corrupt) imposed them anyhow (denying or downplaying the obvious consequences).

      1. Pointing out unintended consequences before they occur is racist.

  6. By far the best and funniest posting on Reason in the past year.

    Makes free market economics sound/look like common sense, while justifiably mocking control freak politicians and governmental schemes to take away freedoms.

    Reason’s libertarian readers could likely write/create these types of short humorous videos to mock Biden’s many disastrous policies.

    Even the liberal left writers and editors at Reason (who vilified Trump for years and campaigned for Biden) could develop them (as so many of Biden’s policies are/will be disastrous, and they know it).

    1. Disagree. The PBS Libertarian Special with Bragg, Remy, and Heaton was hysterical

      1. Hello there! Do you have a warrant to be here?

    2. “The year: 2021. The problem: Local bureaucrats need to look like they care.” Nailed it.

  7. Granting gay people the right to marry because they get depressed and commit suicide and because marriage is a sham of an institution didn’t improve gay people’s mental/social conditions, didn’t make marriage any less of a sham, and, in fact, was a slippery slope to the idiocy of nihilist wokeness.

    1. It’s not like parents are sueing to marry their children (excluding in New York)

      1. Again, people who were sleeping on the street, Occupying Wall Street, and protesting the 1% were cheering the Obergfell decision where a lesbian widower, married in Canada, didn’t have to claim the inheritance her dead partner left her on her taxes. How could anyone possibly foresee any unintended consequences arising from such principled opposition?

    2. It may not have done any of that, but it certainly allowed for additional tax savings, hospital visitation rights, inheritance exemptions, and easier travel for married gay couples. Which was the point.

      1. Which was the point.

        Then why do homosexuals still kill themselves disproportionately?

    3. The right to marry is not “granted”.

      Marriage is not an “institution”.

      1. See JW2 above, hospital visitation rights are?

        It is an institution, if you think it’s not, you should take that up with the people who cited over 1100 privileges that the government grants to married people as reason for why the government should grant them the right to get married.

  8. Congress passing a law to protect free speech on the internet surprisingly doesn’t protect free speech on the internet.

  9. What you call “good intentions” is actually simply selfish virtue signaling, an attempt at self-aggrandizement.

    Reason writers ought to be quite familiar with the concept, having engaged in it for many years now.

  10. Look at the Green New Deal. Plenty of people think not only that we can control 8 billion people so as to control the freaking climate of the freaking planet, and not only should do so, but that it’s a moral imperative that we do so. These people are either insane or they are morons, exactly the sort of people who are surprised when entirely foreseeable consequences bite them in the ass. How many times must socialism lead to disaster before you figure out that disaster is a natural consequence of socialism?

    1. How many times must socialism lead to disaster before you figure out that disaster is a natural consequence of socialism?

      All of them.

  11. Thus, the measure designed to protect dancers from degrading treatment resulted in “the loonie toss”—a creepy ritual where naked women are pelted with Canadian one-dollar coins, which are known as loonies.

    Make it hail.

  12. Take the dollar off the gold standard..pretty much everything bad including wars, student debt, dot com, subprime, and god knows what else…

    Any adoption of keynsian economics…starting with the little “brown boys” in Italy he liked to rape along with the massive economic pains and loss of liberty…

  13. “As a result, many underperforming stores closed, resulting in a “hero pay” of sudden unemployment.”

    Further, adding to the ‘food deserts’ proggies whine about (and cause).

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