America's Lost Decade

Friday, September 02, 2011

When America entered the new millennium, the Clinton Administration reported a budget surplus of around $559 billion and the world was in a state of relative peace. With dot-coms booming, real estate values rising and seemingly no end to the nation’s economic prosperity in sight, the American dream seemed to be a reality for more people. But in 2011 the picture is less rosy. What happened over the past ten years, and does it add up to a lost generation; one without hope of achieving the American Dream?

Lesley Curwen, BBC correspondent, has been working on a new project which looks at what three wars, record unemployment and political gridlock has done to America in the ten years after 9/11.  Todd Buchholz, former White House economist during the George H.W. Bush administration and author of "Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race," talks about the challenges the U.S. will face in the next then years to avoid having a "lost decade."



Todd Buchholz and Lesley Curwen

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [7]

Bernadette Giandomenico from Massachusetts

It has been a tough decade in so many ways to be sure...but for me, I am also hopeful...from 2004 to now...I survived Leukemia, had my beautiful baby girl ( Maya ) in 2008 & my wonderful son ( Daniel ) in 2009....EVERY time I look at them I feel optimistic....I'm an immigrant to this country &, despite everything, I STILL feel like it's an amazing place with SO much to offer.

Sep. 09 2011 02:11 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ listener -

To further bolster the argument against the stated sentiment, that the US helped to

"spark various pro-democracy movements in the Middle-East,"

Listen to the last third of this segment of today's Brian Lehrer show. It shows that such a claim is risible.

Sep. 02 2011 11:31 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ listener - As I specifically stated to you in the past, YOUR "foolish and false historical revisionism" revisionism knows no bounds.

If you're trying to assign blame to political parties, especially regarding the economy, then everyone agrees that BOTH parties have participated in too much tax cutting without cost-cutting, too little real investment particularly in education, and too little planning for the future Information/Network/Globalized economy.

"..the Clinton Administration reported a budget surplus of around $559 billion.."

So today we are supposed to blame the nine month old Republican House for the economic downturn but the longtime Republican controlled Congress of the Clinton Administration gets no credit for the the budget surplus back then?

And yes, American Presidents receive too much priase for the economy in good times and too much scorn in bad times. Sure the Republican Congress helped balance the budget in the 1990s because they compromised with Clinton, a bit of reality, governance and statesmanship that the current batch of Republicans do not agree with. (Essentially they largely believe in nihilism and intransigence, not governance, so long as they win the Presidency.)

The so-called "liberation" by the US, of admittedly odious dictatorships harmed the US more than it helped in terms of lives and treasure, undermined the status of the US as world leader and DID NOT "spark various pro-democracy movements in the Middle-East" because they were ENTIRELY endogenous, not at all sparked from the outside.

Also, the US "Lost Decade" has shown that after the "US economy hummed along with low unemployment," for some years on the inflated housing bubble, the US gained NO net jobs after one of the biggest and most traumatic Period.

Finally, if we are going to worry about the "truly awesome decade" ahead--one fixated on the growing national debt, which has always been, which doubled under GW Bush, a Friedman-style economic conservative, which largely occurred due to the unprecedented destruction and averted depression due to the false economy with poor investment choices made by BOTH the public and PRIVATE sector, then let's worry about it.

Also, let's talk about facts that takes into account all the good and the bad and not selective, partisan, ideological, revisionist history.

Sep. 02 2011 10:40 AM
Rick Evans from Taxachusetts

Why bring on transparently ideologues like Todd Buchholz. While conveniently ignoring the two unpaid for wars combined with deficit ballooning billionaire tax cuts by the spawn of his ex-boss he was allowed to gleefully heap blame on the inheritor of Shrub's mess.

The only reason to bring on a Todd Buchholz or a democratic counterpart is to have a counterproductive, uninformative radio food fight. The segment was mostly a waste.

Sep. 02 2011 10:09 AM

Our current travails are a continuation of the aftermath of 911- the drastic reduction of interest rates to get the country out of the 911 recession artificially ultimately resulted in the current economic disaster. It is that simple.

Sep. 02 2011 10:00 AM
Richard from Salt Lake City

It certainly hasn't been a lost decade for my immediate family. Four of our five children graduated from college, two have great careers, one is in grad school and one is applying for med school. My wife's career has flourished. I finished graduate school last year while working full time. Oh and my wife and I became grand parents this decade. Are we millionaires, no. Are we rich is all the ways that matter? Without a doubt. Our child that didn't graduate from college this decade. She's our 20 year old. She's on track to graduate in a couple of more years. We believe in education and it is serving us well even in a tough economy.

Sep. 02 2011 08:15 AM

"..the Clinton Administration reported a budget surplus of around $559 billion.."

So today we are supposed to blame the nine month old Republican House for the economic downturn but the longtime Republican controlled Congress of the Clinton Administration gets no credit for the the budget surplus back then?

The so-called "lost decade" saw the United States liberate odious dictatorships and spark various pro-democracy movements in the Middle-East while the US economy hummed along with low unemployment.

It would make more sense to worry about the "truly awesome" decade ahead of an eventual $20 trillion dollar debt and economic decline that the current administration has given us.

It seems the foolish and false historical revisionism of the 21st Century is already starting.

Sep. 02 2011 08:07 AM

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