Thinking Realistically about Policy Outcomes

If we want to know whether a certain policy or legal change would be a good idea, we should presumably consider the expected consequences.  Very roughly speaking (abstracting away from
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If we want to know whether a certain policy or legal change would be a good idea, we should presumably consider the expected consequences.  Very roughly speaking (abstracting away from uncertainty and hence the need to weight various possible options by their probability), we should carefully assess what would happen if the policy is / isn't instituted, and we can then assess which result is morally better.  (I don't mean to assume consequentialism here -- if a policy violates rights, for example, one might deem it morally "worse" on those grounds.)  Call this approach "thinking realistically about policy outcomes."  (Also known as "thinking like an economist.")It's surprising rare (excepting economists, of course). Most people seem to just think about the most salient aspect of a proposed policy, and form a positive or negative impression based on that. E.g., (1)  Americans love the mortgage tax deduction -- it helps you to afford a house!  Never mind. . .

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