If the Market is Doing So Great, How come I've Never Made any Money?

I was reading a column in Forbes and found the following statements on the stock market:

Considering the stock market, it’s pretty much where it was in a nominal sense twelve years ago; the difference now that the dollar is greatly reduced in value. Put plainly, not only is the real economy going nowhere, but since 2001 the stock market has essentially gone in reverse.

It seems to me that news stories (at least in Obama Economy) always tout how great Obama has been for the market but it seems to me that these stories always measure the market from its absolute low to its absolute high. It only matters when you buy and when you sell. If you bought certain stocks 5 ago (as I did), you are basically where you were 5 years ago, or even 12 years ago.  So why do people always act as if the market is a great place to invest?