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It’s not the taxes

Borepatch had an excellent piece yesterday about why economic pessimism is justified in our current environment.  A little bit of history.  A little bit of economics.  Tasty.

Let’s think about fast and slow. The Empire State Building was built in a little over 15 months. The World Trade Center (Tower 1) took 52 months, and that was in 1970. Today, Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground.

The reason is regulation (and its bastard child, litigation). That’s the problem. We have buildings full of people that make us stop what we’re doing, fill out forms in triplicate, and then wait months or years before we are allowed to pick up where we stopped. Think for a minute what this does. It pushes some of the middle of the S-Curve into the flat part, reducing the overall value of the industry, as resources get sidelined instead of being engaged in production. More damagingly, it pushes the next S-Curve to the right, increasing the time that it takes to bring a new industry online. Most damagingly of all, it possibly completely eliminates some S-Curves from appearing at all, because the risk is too high to attract investors.

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