Two examples of unintended consequences caught my eye today, one interesting, one rather macabre.
First, the Atlantic on Grover Norquist's no taxes pledge (when Conor is good, he's very good.)
What Norquist doesn't understand or won't admit is that deficit spending is worse than a tax increase, because you've got to pay for it eventually anyway, with interest. Meanwhile, you've created in the public mind the illusion that the level of government services they're consuming is cheaper and less burdensome than is in fact the case. If you hold the line on taxes but not the deficit, you're making big government more palatable.
The second example involves children being accidentally left in cars:
It's a tragedy that is on the rise — last year a record number of children nationwide died from being left in hot cars — and experts cite a surprising reason: a campaign to prevent young children from being killed by air bags.
That 1990s effort focused on moving infants from the front passenger seat of vehicles — where they could be killed in low-speed collisions when air bags deploy — to a safer position in one of the rear passenger seats. Since then, the number of baby deaths involving air bags has plummeted, dropping to just one in the U.S. last year.
But that means more children are out of sight in rear-facing seats, resulting in more chances they can be forgotten in vehicles. Even when it's only 80 degrees outside, temperatures inside a car can reach 109 in 20 minutes.