Ed Driscoll

The Lost Decade


Conde laid off Julian Sanchez yesterday amid more cuts in its digital properties.  Conde is in an especially bad place with the web:  their core competency is selling beautiful, glossy ad pages that readers enjoy looking at.  This does not translate well to a digital format, and it’s hard to make your company over overnight.

A bunch of my journalist friends and I have decided that our new toast is “to 2010″.  2009 has so far been pretty disappointing for almost everyone I know, not to mention the country for which we all have great affection.

— Libertarian-leaning econo-blogger and erstwhile 2008 Obama supporter Megan McArdle, then with the Atlantic, in April of 2009.


Is there an Obama legacy?

In a way, yes. He has mesmerized the media in a manner entirely unknown in past presidencies. No matter the scandal or policy failure, it will be almost impossible for Obama’s popularity to dip much below 40%. Yet even more importantly than hypnotizing a once-free press into a Ministry of Truth, Obama has redefined the scope and purpose of federal redistributive entitlements, turning them into the political means of creating a permanent dependent constituency.

For the Democratic Party, Obama has been a disaster, discrediting the professed liberal commitment to socialized medicine, civil liberties, lead-from-behind foreign policy, Keynesian economics, and an open transparent government skeptical of Wall Street big money and federal overreach. He also managed to pass almost no new initiatives with large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in his first two years of governance, before losing the former in 2010 and perhaps the latter in 2014.

Obama has been compared to almost every out-of-his-league figure in mythology (Phaethon at the reins of his father’s out-of-control sun chariot, Icarus flying too high on frail waxen wings, Narcissus transfixed at a reflecting pool of his own image), cinema (Chauncey Gardiner of Being There, or Bill McKay of The Candidate), or literature (Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Orwell’s pigs prancing on two legs). In that regard, the Obama presidency, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton, requires a suspension of disbelief, and a “what difference does it make?” at each new unfolding scandal.

His tenure will be known as the Wilderness Years — nothing gained, much lost.

— Victor Davis Hanson, “The Wilderness Years,” PJ Media, today.


If you subscribe to the definition encompassing pre-crisis economic growth, real recovery is as far off as an optimistic early 2017.

But there is still a third definition of normal more depressing than the other two, that being how the job market would have grown from 2007 on without the crisis at all. Even if growth had remained flat from mid-2007 on, it will still take until 2017 to reach that number, leaving the potential growth lost over that time beyond 2017 before we catch up.

“Unemployed or underemployed? Better hold out until 2017,” Giuseppe Macri, Rare.us, last week.

Mr. Obama’s economic policy leaving America trapped in a lost decade? If only we could have seen that coming at the start of his administration. Oh right — some of us did:

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