Can't Government Leave the Market Alone?

Here's the thing. All three of these multibillion-dollar projects have been pay-as-you-go, driven largely by individuals and companies that assume their own risk. They have instantly rewarded smart decisions and punished bad ones, they are tested every millisecond against human nature (i.e., the marketplace), they are biased towards efficiency over seniority, and most of all, they are voluntary.

And they are all succeeding.

We will get out of this current financial mess -- not by government fiat, but because entrepreneurs and smart corporate executives and hard-working everyday people will innovate us out of it. They will come up with the new financial instruments that restructure this debt, the new technologies that will generate the wealth to make up for this loss (as they did after 9/11) and ultimately create more jobs than are right now being lost.

And if Washington really wanted to help Americans (and there is no indication right now that it does) it would, the instant it passes the bailout bill, get to work -- not adding more regulations in response to this crisis, but stripping away the destructive ones we created after the last big one.

A good place to start would be Sarbanes-Oxley, which brilliantly keeps wealth out of the hands of regular workers (by keeping start-up companies from going public), all while costing, by my reckoning, $200 billion over the last six years.

Lessons for Washington

If the last two weeks have taught us anything, it is that Washington is not going to get fixed, no matter who is elected. The world is moving on. Seven-hundred-thousand people are joining, via the Web, the global economy each day. If the prognosticators are right, we are now only 1,000 days or so from crucial turning points in the world economy (the next billion consumers, universal wireless broadband, nanotech, thinking machines, etc.)

A new era -- with new rules, new winners and new losers -- is coming up on us fast, and we need to get ready for it right now. Our national leaders just had their chance to prove they were prepared for this new era -- and they have failed miserably. We now have to look elsewhere for leadership … and quickly.

Tad's Tab

There are some impressive things on Flickr. But nothing compares to the time and talent that went into "Excelsior 1968." To create this imaginary high school yearbook, illustrator John Martz redrew cartoons for every picture in his mother's high school yearbook -- 330 unique drawings. Check it out here.

This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000.

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