Great Moments in Unintended Consequences (Vol. 6)

“Great moments in unintended consequences”—when something that sounds like a great idea goes horribly wrong. You can watch the entire series right here.

Part 1: Driving Days

1989 was the year.

Mexico City’s terrible air quality is the problem!

One out of every five vehicles can be banned from driving on weekdays based upon their plate number. This will help keep traffic under control and improve the air quality.

It sounds great with the best of intentions. There are many things that could go wrong.

Citizens got around the ban by buying a second car—often a cheaper, older, and less efficient car. The problem was not solved by having more of the same old, less efficient cars on the road. According to several studies, the restriction actually caused an increase in air pollution.

But not to worry, politicians saw the error of their ways and in 2008….expanded the program to include Saturdays. Wait, really?

Part 2: Taxes on Boats

The year 1773.

Problem: Britain has to have money.

Solution: Charge port and lighthouse fees to merchant vessels based on length and breadth.

It sounds great with all of the best intentions. There are many things that could go wrong.

People don’t enjoy paying taxes. Since ships were charged by width and length but not depth, shipbuilders maximized cargo capacity while minimizing taxes by building deep, sluggish, flat-bottomed, flat-sided vessels—a recipe for instability. The unmanageable and unsightly merchant vessels of Britain were laughable, even though the Navy was ruler over sea.

There are some positive aspects. The taxman won’t be able to reach you from the bottom.

Part 3: When Airplanes Fly Empty

2020 is the year.

Problem: An international pandemic that is straining America’s airline industry.

A $60 billion bailout is needed to rescue and sustain airlines.

It sounds great with the best of intentions. There are many things that could go wrong.

Concerns over COVID caused air passenger rates to plummet by as much as 95 per cent. But since airlines were mandated to maintain a minimum level of service to qualify for the emergency government funding, airlines were forced to continue flying planes…even if there was no one on board. Voila! American skies were quickly filled with “ghost flights”—nearly empty planes crisscrossing the country so the industry could qualify for billions of taxpayer funds.

Meredith and Austin Bragg wrote and produced the book; Natalie Dowzicky did additional research and was narrated and narrated in part by Austin Bragg.