Unanticipated Effects: Deficit Reduction, Digital Photography, Coin Composition

[Remember: Pick your birthday song here]

Today’s late lunchtime news chum brings together three articles, all dealing with unanticipated effects:

  • Reducing the Deficit. Good news. The US deficit is expected to top $1 trillion… which is down substantially from the worst days of the “Great Recession”. This means the budget-cutters are getting their wish: we are slowly getting the deficit down (but remember: we don’t want it to be gone entirely, because then bad things will happen). But of course, there a side effect the reducing the deficit: by keeping spending down, we’re also raising the unemployment numbers and slowing down the economic recovery. More government spending would mean more government jobs and government funding, which would mean people could spend more. We’ve stifled that, so fiscal responsibility means we prolong the pain of the recession.
  • Digital Photos. Here in Los Angeles, we have yet another case of a teacher sexually-abusing their students. What caught my eye was how this fellow saw caught: a photo-processing lab detected the images on a roll of 35mm film he was having developed. Here then, is our unanticipated effects: as we move to digital photography, how many of these abusers are going to be missed because they are just doing things digitally?
  • Making Money from Money. A congresscritter from a steel-producing state has introduced a bill to make coins from steel, in order to save money. The goal, of course, is to have the cost to produce a coin be less than the face value of that coin, which isn’t true for 1¢ and 5¢ coins. The problem is, however, instead of letting the treasury decide the best composition, the bill is dictating a composition. This creates a number of problems, such as a lack of flexibility when metal prices changes, plus the fact that differing compositions and weights has a significant effect on coin counting and vending machines that use weight and magnetic characteristics to determine valid coins.

Music: Time to Think (Kingston Trio): These Seven Men