10-Year Slump

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune, asks if they were the worst yet in "The 00's: A Decade from Hell," this week's Time cover story.

Clip from President Bush's last press conference on his biggest regrets.


Andy Serwer

Comments [38]


In the USA, a "least fortunate" american can be defined as heading over to the local school, or christian, jewish or muslim place of worship, in order to pick up a couple hundred bucks worth of free food and clothes, weekly if needed. Most planetary beings would define this as heaven itself. Just a bit of perspective.

Nov. 26 2009 09:59 AM
Sandy J from Mobile, Alabama

I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast and listen to Brian's show on satellite radio. I have to add my comment about the damage from Katrina being man-made (or made worse, any way by the levee situation in NOLA). That may be true in New Orleans, but don't forget the devastation in coastal Mississippi and Alabama. Parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast were absolutely flattened, and there was very substantial damage in Coastal Alabama, as well as Louisiana outside of NOLA. All that was thanks to a good old fashioned natural disaster--Hurricane Katrina.

Nov. 25 2009 01:50 PM
hjs from 11211

kewl. i'll use that, thanks

Nov. 25 2009 12:33 PM
Mary Ellen from Brooklyn, NY

I remember during the energy crisis, President Jimmy Carter was televised--he and Amy in sweaters--turning down the thermostat in the White House, and encouraging the rest of country to do the same. Thinking back, I see that as an emblematic (and yes, hokey) 70s moment--it was a scary, weird time, but the crisis was met with some semblance of leadership, for one thing, and a call for all of us to respond and sacrifice **together.**

Compare and contrast George Bush in 2001, who continued to read a children's book after being informed about the planes on 9/11. Then he was whisked away into hiding for the rest of the day, leaving lame duck Rudy to stand in as the leader of the moment. And then our call to sacrifice was that we should all just...keep shopping.

There will always be terrible decades and I remember the 70s as having moments equal in tragedy to the past 10 years. What I think was different during this waning decade is the way we no longer expect much from our leaders, and in turn, they doesn't expect or ask much from us. In fact, ignorance was more or less mandatory. And on top of that, we are each of us, all alone, and on our own--Hurricane Katrina being that emblematic moment.

Obama's presentation of strength, integrity, education, leadership, and a realistic approach to the problems at hand were what most of us were looking for when we voted for him. Right now, no one knows what his legacy will be, but we are better off for having elected him, if only because he asked us to be hopeful. Together.

Nov. 25 2009 12:31 PM
Rich from Staten Island

hjs - You are right on. Maybe the song in the background for this show should've been Tom Waits's song "Step Right Up"

Nov. 25 2009 12:28 PM
hjs from 11211

you know we americans love our pats :)

Nov. 25 2009 12:21 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

It’s a little cerebral hjs, but “cheap plastic for cheap plastic” might just be the best WNYC post of the aughts.
Sums up the decade of decline perfectly. You deserve a pat on the back.

Nov. 25 2009 11:53 AM
hjs from 11211

who do u want to be the next president?

Nov. 25 2009 11:42 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

To be factual, almost all the problems of the past decade can be laid at the feet of the Democrat Party and Clinton/Gore who sent millions of jobs overseas, created laws to allow broke people to buy homes, failed to capture or kill Islamic terrorists who attacked us in Africa, Yemen, NYC; failed to get any health care reform, or even tort reform done and in “00’s” voted for the Iraq War when they didn’t believe in it, etc. What a bunch of losers.

The next decade will not be better, but rather much worse. Obama has created NO jobs and won’t be. His unemployment rate went from 7.6% to 10.2% on its way to 11-12% before he is voted out of office. The debt service alone from Obama's deficit will be bigger then most past deficits themselves. It is a permanently failed administration and he’s only been on the job for 10 months.

If Obama's destructive plans for health care, cap & trade, card check and other nonsense goes forward the future for America is very shaky indeed, but that's what Obama and his group of Bolsheviks, Maoists and Islamic apologists want. They want to lay America low while they transfer wealth and power overseas.

Nov. 25 2009 11:39 AM
hjs from 11211

cheap plastic for cheap plastic

Nov. 25 2009 11:37 AM
hjs from 11211

we "ought" to put our own house in order, instead of iraq.

Nov. 25 2009 11:36 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

What about the “oughts” hjs, for all the things we should have done instead of… well, you know.

Nov. 25 2009 11:28 AM
Rich from Staten Island

China is a huge trading partner. They take US dollars. The US receives defective and unsafe goods.

Nov. 25 2009 11:27 AM
Robert from NYC

Gee Brian that shades remark was bad. You're starting to sound like me!

Nov. 25 2009 11:26 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

For people who say that the 70s was far worse, I think they should take a look at the fact that many of the conditions are the same now - we are in two wars, as opposed to just the Vietnam War. The only reason why people don't think much about this is because there's no draft, so people are less concerned (and thus, far more tolerant) of our foreign policy. We should also recall that due to the economic ugliness of the 70s, a lot of the way we measure unemployment and inflation has been "corrected" by the government in order to hide certain unpleasant truths. I don't think I would refer to the past decade as the Decade from Hell, but rather the Decade of Denial. The Decade of Hell will no doubt refer to our next decade.

Nov. 25 2009 11:26 AM
Robert from NYC

As my mom discussed this morning, the whole country is degenerating to the lowest level of civilization if you can even call it that. Social structure has deteriorated and so has the economy and just about every institution we always respected including religious institutions. We live in a gangster--or should I say now gangstah and selfish driven structure that I avoid even calling social. Respect is out the window as is every other civil mode of life. Remember when the customer was always right? LOL.

Nov. 25 2009 11:25 AM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

Sanctioned torture.
Shooting wolves in Yellowstone (as I type).
Lower standards for clean air and water.
Global Gag Order.

p.s. the economic meltdown was inevitable and predictable: Grossly inflated housing and stock prices, rabid consumerism, no/low growth in wages with increased debt, reduced regulation. Duh!

Nov. 25 2009 11:25 AM
Leo in NYC from Staten Island

I have to take issue with the premise of the segment.

As tragic as 9/11 was, the reason you see it as a bookend for a terrible period of time is that it marked the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

From post-9/11 to the financial crisis, the awfulness of the past decade wasn't an "act of god" -- we created it. The suckiness of the Aughts was a predictable, technocratic failure of our society to hadle the problems facing us effectively.

We can create a "worst decade ever" anytime we want by accepting bad government and a weak civil society.

Nov. 25 2009 11:25 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

What about the decade of the super-weenies? The decade of hyperbole?
To the first caller’s point, this was really the decade of the “bi**h ‘n’ moan” to be more accurate. This is the decade where everything was the worst of everything ever with no end in sight for anyone.
This is the decade where if the waiter brings you persimmon glazed veal cheeks instead of the truffle braised squab, it’s terrorism!!! This is the decade where nothing was anyone’s fault, no one took responsibility for anything, everything threatened to bring about the end of civilization.
Maybe it’s just the decade where America became the laughing stock of the rest of the world for its lack of will and belief in fallacies.

Nov. 25 2009 11:24 AM
hjs from 11211

OR "the nots"

Nov. 25 2009 11:24 AM
brian from brooklyn

This decade could be referred to as the naughties.

Nov. 25 2009 11:23 AM
hjs from 11211

"the aughts"

Nov. 25 2009 11:23 AM
Sunshine from Bushwick

This was the Decade of Irrespondsiblity. From the war to financial to social respondsiblity

Nov. 25 2009 11:22 AM from UWS

It feels more than this being the worst or lost decade, this decade marks the beginning of the end of the American empire and maybe that's what we are feeling.

Nov. 25 2009 11:22 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

If you're Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon, then this has been the greatest decade ever. You destroyed the financial structure of the US, lost billions, and made even more billions in the process.

Nov. 25 2009 11:21 AM
Gary from Upper Left Side

Hey Andy, don't forget the AOL Time Warner merger (fiasco)--your employer.

Nov. 25 2009 11:21 AM
Gary from Upper Left Side

Hey Andy, don't forget the AOL Time Warner merger (fiasco)--your employer.

Nov. 25 2009 11:21 AM
Scott from Ridgefield, NJ

Lest we forget there is one more year left in this decade! (2001-2010)
Could it get worse??

Nov. 25 2009 11:21 AM
hjs from 11211

it's only the worst decade of my life, if we haven't learned anything. if we haven't learned anything next 10 will be worse.

Nov. 25 2009 11:19 AM
Frank from UES

Please don't repeat the mistaken belief that Y2K was a fizzle. It would have been a serious problem if not for the millions spent to rewrite potentially faulty systems.

This seems to happen a lot when prevention is criticized as being a waste when the catastrophe doesn't happen.

Nov. 25 2009 11:11 AM
Robert from Manhattan

From the theft of the election to its eight-years plus of consequences, the Oh-No's have absolutely been a decade from hell. But the worst, Brian? Nobody who lived through World War II is likely to think so.

Nov. 25 2009 11:09 AM
Alvin from Manhattan

What about the 1970's? Consider:
Vietnam conflict, including humiliating defeat;
Watergate and resignation of President Nixon;
Arab oil boycott;
Stagflation and the Volcker recession;
The start of the drop in middle-class standard of living (1973 onwards);
Chrysler bankruptcy;
Hollowing out of American manufacturing.

(Note to screeners; I won't call in about my post. Did that once, never again.)

Nov. 25 2009 11:09 AM
Rich from Staten Island

The Era of Expansion of big box - retail, banking, and hospitals/medicine. There was the Consolidation of the energy companies - how has this helped people?

Nov. 25 2009 11:07 AM
Leon Freilich from Park Slope


For liberal Democrats

It hurts to have to snipe

But sadly it must be said

Hope turned out to be hype.

Nov. 25 2009 11:05 AM

Hopefully, in the next ten years, we'll all break our addiction to the internet.

Nov. 25 2009 11:01 AM
hjs from 11211

I've had a great 10 years of schadenfreude.

we made our beds! go lie

Nov. 25 2009 10:49 AM

Yeah. Bush was a really bad President. He turned the whole country into a freak show.

Nov. 25 2009 10:38 AM
Gabrielle from brooklyn

if anyone is interested, i thought this was a great article from Daniel Gross of Slate's The Big Money. He links to data to support his argument:

The Lost Decade
Why the last 10 years have been an economic disappointment for most Americans.

Nov. 25 2009 10:35 AM

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