Ours Go to Eleven
(a reference to seminal rock comedy classic This is Spinal Tap)
In 1897, the great state of Indiana sought to legislate the value of Pi. You know, that number that goes on to infinity. The theory was simple, but wrong.
Egged on by an amateur mathematician, the Indiana General Assembly almost passes a bill adopting 3.2 as the exact value of pi (or π). Only the intervention of a Purdue University mathematician who happens to be visiting the legislature prevents the bill from becoming law, saving the most acute political embarrassment.
Bad ideas often sound good. Easy solutions are the heroin of business.