Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The End of A Terrible Decade

When historians look back on the first decade of the new century I think they will conclude that it was one of the worst ten year periods in recent history. Nothing good really happened. We entered the decade with so much promise on Jan 1, 2001. The world was becoming a place where borders didn't seem to matter, technology was king, jobs were plentiful, stock market riches were trickling down to the middle class and optimism about the triumph of capitalism, secularism and globalization was high. We exit this decade where almost none of these sentiments exist.

So what happened? Stupid policies that pitted ideology over common sense, hubris and a lack of integrity, all combined to help end the party. Certainly the election of George W Bush and the implementation of his policies (Remember the "Deficits don't matter, Reagan proved that" quip by Dick Cheney) were big contributors to the current malaise facing the United States.

But like most big problems there is plenty of bipartisan blame to go around. The seeds for this current problem were sowed in the previous decade under Clinton, where the Democrats in their desire to be considered pro-business, helped gut financial laws and regulatory bodies with glee, spurred on by their friends on Wall Street.

The Democrats dithering and weak opposition during the Bush years (they gave him a pass on Homeland Security, on Iraq and the tax cuts) also contributed to us ending up in the hole we are currently in.

I am quite pessimistic at this point in our nations history. The infighting and partisanship has gone so far that devising a sane policy is no longer possible. (We don't even agree on the facts - how can we agree on policy?). If this democracy is to survive, if capitalism itself is to survive we have to stop this self destructive behavior or playing gotcha (the immense hypocrisy unveiled by the Right over the underwear bomber is a great example. BHO has basically treated this guy the same way as Bush and Ashcroft treated Richard Reid....but because its Obama, everyone on the right is having a conniption).

Should I have hope? I don't know. I just don't see the intellect or the will in our current set of politicians to make it happen.

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