If we had to sum up this vast misallocation, we might start by characterizing it as the result of a multitude of elites playing Empire with money borrowed from future generations.
We can start the list of extraordinary misallocations of national treasure with the Neocon's endless wars of choice. Ten years ago, estimates of the total cost of the Iraq misadventure were $3 trillion: Cost of Iraq War: $3 Trillion; Cost of Solar Plants to Power all 105 million U.S Households: $500 Billion (April 10, 2008)
(Yes, I know solar energy is not "the solution" due to intermittency, lack of storage, fossil fuels are needed to build and maintain the solar infrastructure, etc.–but the point is: would we be better off if we'd invested 20% of the money squandered on the Iraq misadventure on alternative energy, even with all its limitations?)
But this does not exhaust the list of extraordinary misallocations of treasure.Universities have found the funds to build grand edifices on campus (never mind the trillion dollars in student loan debt that funded the delusions of grandeur) while much of the rest of our educational infrastructure crumbles as deferred maintenance takes its inevitable toll.