Here is a reprint from April 10th, 2008 that I added a few paragraphs to that still hits home.
In 1939 we had “Appeasement” to keep from fighting a war with Germany. It kind of worked for a couple of years; we still had a war, but if we had nipped it in the bud, it would have been small. World wars tend to be large.
Congress gave a subsidy for growing corn to make ethanol, and the price of beef went up. Turning food into fuel is pure lunacy (IMHO). The funny part is the subsidies more than make up for the unprofitably of the venture. God bless Congress for their infinite wisdom, their group stupidity will kill us (if their kindness doesn’t). I would like to see the gas stations give you the quart of ethanol instead of mixing it in your gas. You’d be able to fill your tank and get tanked. The DUI would be an unintended consequence.
The Fed dropped the interest rate when the stock market took a dive in 2001 and the real estate market took off. The solution to one problem created a new problem; of course everyone knows that real estate has hit “bottom.” The Fed bailed out Bear Stearns and God knows where that is going yet. Ben’s 30 billion dollar loan will buy a lot of “Blue Sky” (assets with intangible value). B of A is about to throw away the sucked out dry carcass of Countrywide. I guess they get to keep CW’s loan servicing department. This outcome however, was far from unintended.
Congress a few years back passed a law that allowed farmers to depreciate heavy farm equipment over five years. Every business in the US bought a Hummer as a 50K write off! A great business expense when gas was $1.50.
Three paragraphs following, added September 26, 2010
Congress enacted a fine on airlines that could cost them a couple of million if they left a plane waiting the the tarmac for 3 hours. The net result,The airlines eliminate the possibility of a fine by canceling the flight. It's very upsetting to fly into Chicago and find out your flight to DC has been canceled--I remember it well!
Obamacare prevents insurers from putting caps on medical payments for children. The net effect, insurers will stop offering coverage for kids.
A few years back the Georgia legislature passed a bill against abusive loans by banks. The net result, you couldn't find a bank to borrow money from to buy a home, in the state of Georgia. That got fixed rather fast.
We need to accept the idea that the solution to one problem creates a new problem. If that wasn’t the case, we would have solved all of humanity’s problems hundreds of years ago. Once you realize this, you begin to understand politics. The problems are real, but the solutions are only trade offs. The whole mess will sort itself out with or without any intervention. Intervention will not change the final outcome.
It reminds me of the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. The unintended consequence here is you have a couple of guys in a boat drinking beer all day. The additional unintended consequence is a mad wife with a frying pan waiting for her drunk husband to crawl home. Ouch!
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