Just a quick, not-too-well-thought-out post this morning.
I went to the ballgame with some friends last night, one of whom has a growing family business but isn't making any more money. He blamed increased Federal reporting requirements that grow costs without growing profit. I know this is anecdote rather than evidence, but every observation is important.
Coincidentally that same day, I sat with a client who was trying to shorten the time spent on a very complex process – without actually shortening or simplifying the process. As a result, more money is spent analyzing the problem – and stewing over a lack of progress – than fixing the problem.
You'll find a similar mindset in the two leading presidential candidates: lots of bluster and simplistic solutions (build a wall to keep them out v. tax them to keep them in) rather than insightful analysis and thoughtful, thoroughly thought-out ideas.
Mancur Olson (who I cite frequently in this blog) presented the notion that countries decline as companies seek and gain favor to stifle competition and shut out competitors. (And here's the part I haven't researched.) As the prod of competition eases, companies become lazy, sclerotic, and inefficient. Government, too, suffers the same malaise, finding it easier to add to regulatory burden than trim outdated, onerous rules.
Currently, there is great concern in the economic community about the slowing rate of growth in productivity – that is, doing more with less. I'd like to suggest that having fewer rules and more efficient regulation (something business likes) is one remedy. More and more widespread competition (something business doesn't like) would be a nice booster shot as well.
After sitting too long last night, I welcomed the seventh inning stretch. America is a little uncomfortable right now; we're whining too much and pointing fingers way too often. Now's the time to stretch our vision of what we can do and where we want to go. And for each of us to let go of things that just don't work anymore.