I’ve written before on the importance of unintended and hidden consequences. Short-sighted bureaucrats and feel-good pundits still just don’t seem to get it. This NYT piece brilliantly lays out some examples of unintended consequences that those who govern by feeling need to pay attention to.
Take the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.). Who could be against helping the disabled?
"..(an academic study) found that when the A.D.A. was enacted in 1992, it led to a sharp drop in the employment of disabled workers. How could this be? Employers, concerned that they wouldn’t be able to discipline or fire disabled workers who happened to be incompetent, apparently avoided hiring them in the first place."
So, the result of the ADA was fewer disabled people being able to find work because employers feared its repercussions. Still feel the same way about that law? Of course, nobody is trying to say that the ADA didn’t have any positive impact. But such unintended consequences must be considered before enacting new laws and regulations, a consideration that seems to be lacking in the interventionists among us.
Check out the article, and remember what road is paved with good intentions.