Dumb Money

There’s another type of brain drain we seldom talk about. Our stupidity:

Should government step in and require simple, cheap improvements in efficiency for the good of the nation?

Many ideologues spring forth to bash any and all such “impositions” on the market. Yet add up 100 million households and offices, and there’s 140 power plants that do nothing but keep a nation’s gadgets in power-wasting standby mode. [!]

Maybe we need intellectual innovations as much as we need technical innovations.

Perhaps every system should be required to undergo an energy audit–how much energy and time will this require on an economy-wide basis? Will the proposed benefits actually be worth the energy and effort, which otherwise could be devoted to more pressing problems?

For example, such an audit would lead to the total repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley. This utterly misguided, if well-intentioned, system of regulation is essentially a 5-10% “tax” on corporate America and thus the nation as a whole. As financial scandals unfold one after the other, it is clear SOX has done virtually nothing to stop fraud and legerdemain, but it has proved horrendously costly and ineffective.

Can we as a nation afford to have tens of thousands of people toiling away on such a stupendous make-work project with virtually no tangible, measurable results?

Can’t the same be said of the tens of thousands of people devoted to figuring out who pays what share of an inflated medical bill, inundating the system with paperwork and emails and adding up to 50% to the cost of the actual care? Is this energy and human investment really generating useful returns?

The answer to both questions is obviously no.

We as a nation are rather obviously fiddling while Rome burns, expending staggering sums of money on gigantic make-work projects which are widely seen as enormous wastes of time and energy like SOX compliance and billing/invoicing etc. the bloated, Kafka-esque “healthcare” system.

We as a nation have avoided hard choices by borrowing trillions of dollars.