This is an old article, but given my earlier post about eagles and broken window fallacy, it seemed somehow appropriate. Here, we hear about the problem of unintended consequences to policy--specifically the sometimes crazy results that come as a result of government policies.
Unintended consequences arise every time an authority imposes its will on people. Seat belt and airbag laws make it less safe to be a pedestrian or cyclist by making it safer for drivers to be less cautious. Payday lending laws, intended to protect low-income borrowers from high lending rates, make it more expensive for low-income borrowers to borrow by forcing them into even more expensive alternatives.
Policy makers who are--I believe--well-intentioned in most instances, ought to take the time to ask themselves "What could go wrong with this?" before they implement new policies meant to solve a problem. Unintended consequences are plentiful in most human actions.