Skip to comments.Time's 'Decade from Hell' Included 'Fiasco' in Iraq, a Poisonous New Media, and Deadly Tax Cuts
Posted on 12/06/2009 8:52:25 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Time's cover story denouncing the Bush era (plus a year of Clinton and a year of Obama) as "The Decade from Hell" is overwrought. But Time's guru Andy Serwer tries to claim it's not:
Calling the 2000s "the worst" may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more.
This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history. Between the West's ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world it's no wonder we feel as if we've been through a 10-year gauntlet.
Americans may have the darkest view of recent history, since it's in the U.S. that the effects of those trends have been most acute. If you live in Brazil or China, you have had a pretty good decade economically. Once, we were the sunniest and most optimistic of nations. No longer.
Part of what ruined the decade was, of course, the "fiasco in Iraq," with no real acknowledgment that it's doing alright presently:
We waged war in Afghanistan that drags on and today is deadlier than ever. Then came our fiasco in Iraq. Don't forget the anthrax letters and later the Washington, D.C., snipers and the wave of Wall Street scandals highlighted by Enron and WorldCom.
Then came the obligatory focus on Hurricane Katrina, although Serwer had more blame for the Army Corps of Engineers than the media had at the time, laying all the blame on Bush:
Sometimes it was as if the gods themselves were conspiring against this decade. On Aug. 29, 2005, near the center point in the decade, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, killing more than 1,500 and causing $100 billion in damages. It was the largest natural disaster in our nation's history.
Blame "the gods"? What religion is Serwer professing in this paragraph? There's also blame for the New Media when it comes to who ruined the decade:
The rise of all manner of new media and the lack of barriers to criticism from the blogosphere seemed to intensify every scandal and left very few public figures unsullied. Sure, some amazingly great things happened this decade, from the stunning rise of China to Apple's dazzling array of new products to the feats of sprinter Usain Bolt to our nation rallying (at least temporarily) around its first African-American President. But all that seems more like counterpoint rather than the main act.
Rallying around Obama was an "amazingly great thing," but conservatives spoiled that trend. The overarching summary of the decade in economics is overwhelmingly depressing:
Were we Americans alone in our troubles? Hardly. The Asian tsunami of 2004 killed more than 200,000 people. And our financial meltdown quickly spread around the developed world. Yet from our lofty perch overlooking the 20th century the American Century, TIME's co-founder once labeled it the fall has been precipitous. Who among us is unscathed? Not many. Even if none of your family members died in combat, you had no money with Madoff and you own your house free and clear, you most likely still took a hit. To paraphrase the question Ronald Reagan posed years ago, Are you better off today than you were at the beginning of the decade? For most of us, the answer is a resounding no. Let us count the ways. For one thing, the stock market is down 26% since 2000, making this the worst decade for stocks. (Inflation-adjusted, it's even worse.) I remember Warren Buffett telling me at the beginning of the decade that there was no way the go-go returns of the 1990s were going to continue and that we had better get used to meager returns going forward. Buffett saw it coming.
For the average working stiff, it was a pretty lousy 10 years. The median household income in 2000 was $52,500. Last year (the most recent year available) it was $50,303. And given that the unemployment rate has climbed to 10.2%, income will almost certainly drop again this year. Low-income Americans fared even worse. In 2000, 11.3% of Americans were living below the poverty line. By 2008, that number had risen to 13.2%. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans without health insurance increased from 13.7% to 15.4%.
....Our economic narcissism was certainly the culprit in the devastation wrought by financial markets, which have subjected us to an increasingly frequent series of crashes, frauds and recessions. To a great degree, this was brought about by a lethal combination of irresponsible deregulation and accommodating monetary policies instituted by the Federal Reserve. Bankers and financial engineers had an unsupervised free-market free-for-all just as the increased complexity of financial products e.g., derivatives screamed out for greater regulation or at least supervision. Enron, for instance, was a bastard child of a deregulated utilities industry and a mind-bending financial alchemy.
Tax cuts were mentioned -- only as a way to get people killed when bridges collapse, like the one in Minneapolis:
How many other bridges, roads and dams are death trapsinwaiting? No one knows, but you can't help wondering if squeezed maintenance budgets are making our country less safe. A 2005 report card on American infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers (which gave mostly C's and D's) estimated that the U.S. needed to spend $1.6 trillion to bring our roads, highways, bridges and dams into good shape. Sure, the engineers are looking for work but know that the U.S. spends only 2.4% of its GDP on infrastructure, as opposed to 5% in Europe and 9% in China. Here again, why should a politician spend money today to fix something that won't collapse until tomorrow? Especially if he or she could get re-elected by cutting taxes instead.
Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.
‘poisonous new media’? Poor babies, someone else is doing their job...
May the poisonous old media rest in peace - we got it now !
It was the decade of financial reckoning. Years of strangling business and trying to paper it over with cheap money finally caught up with this country. The Green mentality (religion) that you could be pristine and still have enough jobs ran into the obvious contradiction that didn’t enter their hallucination.
Reality finally caught up with the fantasies of socialism, and the ugly bill was presented.
Glad to know Andy Sewer ( spelling on purpose) would prefer that Saddam Hussein was still in power, we never defended against terrorists operating out of Afghanistan and that of course a hurricane hitting a city mostly below sea level is Bush’s fault. Oh, and tax cuts are for rubes, and government bureaucrats are our angels.
Libtards live in a world of never ending foolishness.
When are the losers at time going to just swallow their pride and change their name to “Waiting Room Weekly”?
Isn’t it about time Time ceased publication.
I despise that company.
There used to be a saying:
Life Magazine - for people who can’t read.
Time Magazine - for people who can’t think.
I believe we haven’t yet seen the worst of it.
The power mongers aren’t going to slither away to wait for another election cycle this time.
I expect we’ll see some awful event before April comes around.
I nominate the 70’s. Started with the Vietnam War and Watergate and ended with the disaster of the Carter presidency....
The 80’s were the best.
Hope we follow a similar pattern now....
it all depends on what you consider ‘hell’. me? i see evil as easy to spot... so if someone were to ask what was the worse thing to happen from the last 10 years, i would name it without much hesitation.
the roughly 14 million America kids that were killed in the name of liberal ‘freedom’
just to add a little perspective to this rubbish
I would agree that the 2000s were a decade from hell, primarily for one reason: The return and rise of liberalism and all the evil that has come with that. The election of W in 2000 game them a sick source of strength, ensnaring more and more Americans with each passing year with their lies. We saw W being defamed with more viciousness each year. We saw the sick liberals regaining Congress in 2006, and we finally saw them recapture the White House in 2008 with an absolute Marxist and anti-American.
The only question now is will it be too late to reverse this horrible trend?
These guys are hilarious!
I saw a thing on the History Channel about the biggest threatts to life on Earth.
After discussing the Yellowstone Calderon, huge meteorites, and nuclear proliferation, guess what number 1 was?
They are so over the top with this crap it makes it obvious to even the slowest among us that they have an agenda.
Maybe getting Time to learn how to count might be an improvement.
January 1, 2001 was the first day of the new decade and it still has a year until it ends on December 31, 2010 (e.g. the 10th year of the 2000’s). 2000 was the 10th year of the 1990’s.
The 1860’s - 500,000 American dead out of a much smaller population than we have today. The decade from 1911 through 1920 - WWI and a severe recession at the end. The 1940’s - WWII. The i960’s - 50,000 American dead in Vietnam, race riots, cultural anarchy, the Great Society, poitical assasinations. None of these decades caught Time’s attention?
TIME can’t wait 12 months until the actual end of the decade because they won’t be in business that long.
haha, that’s what I was just thinking, too.
yet again, OM “covers” crucial stories by covering them up (flight 297 just one case in point).
Boo fnn HOO!
Our economy recovered after 9/11, unemployment was almost zero with companies having trouble finding people to work for them, no more 9/11s when we all were sure there would more, algore and Kerry didn't become President...
Yet, through it all, the media was able to report doom and gloom, doing their best to convince us how bad we had it until we finally elected a demonrat majority and now a President who have helped to make that doom and gloom a reality.
This was far from our worst decade, but unless we are able to flush congress and the presidency, this next decade certainly will be.
I liked the 90’s. They were fun! I graduated from College, got married, had my first two children, had more fun. To go back to those days would be wonderful. I must admit that the 2000’s were not bad for my family. I know that some had it pretty bad though. Each decade has some people wishing it would last forever and others who wish it never came. the 80’s for me were ok...grade school and high school. Who really wants to return to those years???? 70’s were horrible as I remember sitting in the car as a 8 year old waiting for Dad to get gas for his car.
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