Tomatoes, Health Care and Unintended Consequences

Trying to make pretty tomatoes, plant breeders inadvertently created a tasteless fruit. It all started 70 years ago with a gene mutation that evenly ripened tomatoes. Seeing the commercial potential of uniformly colored bright red tomatoes, growers bred the gene…

A Fine That Backfired

Sometimes, deterrents won’t work. Our story begins at several Israeli day-care centers. Because some parents were picking up their children after dismissal time, two economists suggested a fine. To their surprise, the number of latecomers more than doubled after it…

Government Guidelines and Unintended Consequences

Sometimes government guidelines can have unintended consequences. Government travel guidelines: At a networking reception, the General Services Administration spent $1900 on 400 “petit beef Wellington” snacks and $2000 on 400 “mini Monte Cristo sandwiches” and it (sort of) all made…

Tuition Intuition

With tuition and student loans skyrocketing, the Obama Administration has urged colleges to charge less and Congress to lower the cap on monthly payments. Maybe though, they are targeting the wrong solution. One Bloomberg View columnist suggests that government subsidies…

Bag Wars

Sometimes incentives are unpredictable…especially for B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bag). A new 5-cent tax on paper and plastic shopping bags in Montgomery County, Maryland is primarily targeting plastic bag use. Fewer plastic bags will mean cleaner local rivers and an…

Unintended Tax Consequences

Protesting a proposed luxury tax for pet grooming, Chicago’s Soggy Paws canine clients wore signs saying “…please don’t tax my haircut.” The politicians who were hoping for more revenue might have been disappointed. Some history… The Omnibus Reconciliation Budget Act…

More Oil Dilemmas

The recent International Energy Agency (IEA) announcement is about a lot more than a tank of gas. Everyday, for 30 days, 2 million barrels of oil will be released from strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs). The U.S. will be responsible for…

A Bag Tax

Washington, D.C. got a bag tax on January 1. Now, any store that sells food (even a book store that sells mints) has to charge its customers $.05 for every bag they use (not just for the food but everything!).…