Economics

Reason Staffers Pick The Best and Worst Things of The Decade

What was bad and good during the Aughts

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As the Aughts come to a close, Reason staffers make their pitches for the best and worst things in a decade that many are hoping to forget.

Radley Balko, Senior Editor:

Worst: September 11. For the sheer horrendousness of the attacks and what they represented, but also for the corresponding overreaction from the U.S. government and resulting collateral damage to…well, just about every other area of public policy.

Best: The continued growth, expansion, adaptation, and usefulness of the Internet. From bringing new transparency and accountability to government at all levels all over the world to facilitating instant commerce between people far removed from one another to immensely expanding an infinite range of consumer options to the liberation of information to a litany other benefits, it's hard to name another development in modern history that has done more to better the human condition.

Brian Doherty, Senior Editor:

Worst: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This decade saw the U.S. launch and continue, with no end in realistic sight even as ends are promised, two wars of questionable (Afghanistan) or no (Iraq) relevance to the defense of the nation. These actions have murdered tens of thousands and wasted treasure we decidedly don't have to spare. To the extent that they have not been obvious, universally agreed upon disasters, which they have not, they unfortunately lay the groundwork for more such foolish and criminal uses of the U.S. military in the future.

Best: Global Explosion in The Middle Class. As nearly always in human history, the good news has to be found beyond the worlds of government and public policy. In a decade of grim expansion of state power and resource grabs, and further diminution of constitutional limits on that expansion, all persons of good will (except, I guess, for people who think human wealth equals planetary destruction) should cheer a trend summed up well by Jesse Walker here at Reason Online: an explosion of entrepreneurship and wealth that has brought the middle class to dominate more than half's the world population by 2006.

Nick Gillespie, Editor in Chief, Reason.com and Reason.tv:

Worst: The Return of Interventionism Whether Domestic, Foreign, or Interplanetary. After a relatively hands-off decade in the 1990s, government at all levels has rebounded as more powerful, repressive, and expensive than ever before. The 9/11 attacks did not need to lead to long-term occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic crisis (largely if not completely created by government policies) did not need to lead to the feds running GM, etc. Yet this impulse is back in full force, and in defiance of the sentiment of the American people, a majority of whom oppose our wars, bailouts, and health care reform.

Best: The End of Mainstream Culture in America. At some point in the past decade, "the mainstream" disappeared from America, with nary a peep. This is partly a technological development (the Internets, among other inventions, allow us to make choices long denied us) but it's even more an attitudinal thing. Along every dimension of activity, whether we're talking music, sex, ideology, or food, there are more viable choices than ever before and, even more important, more comfort with the choices we and others make. Politicians will be the last to get the news (see above: The Return of Interventionism), but that's always the case. This experiential pluralism, a combination of mind-set, wealth, and technology, should be our great export to the world in the 21st century. As it spreads, it will also kick the props out from interventionism, which demands that everyone pay for everyone else's choices.

[Story continues below video]

Katherine Mangu-Ward, Senior Editor

Worst: The End of the End of History. In 1992, Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, and we were all supposed to sail off into the sunset on the U.S.S. Liberal Democracy. But then the Russian Bear woke up grumpy, 9/11 went down, Iran decided to it was in the mood for nukes, the word Islamofascism started appearing in newspapers. History resumed.

Best: Cell phones. A good innovation is one that makes life before it seem unimaginably difficult. In the dark days at the end of the 20th century, cell phones had more or less assumed their modern form, but most people still didn't own one. Ownership levels around the globe struggled to crack double digits, and even in the U.S. fewer than a third of adults owned a cell phone. Today, 87 percent of Americans have a mobile, and that figure rises to 94 percent under the age of 45. More than half the world's population now carries a phone in their pocket, and many developing nations have skipped over landline infrastructure entirely. At the dawning of a new decade, one question plagues us: How did people ever manage to meet for lunch in the '90s?

Michael C. Moynihan, Senior Editor

Worst: The Rise of The Blogosphere. While we should celebrate its role in helping balancing power in the media world, the rise of the blogosphere has also convinced a clique of annoying, self-serious, pompous amateurs that, with access to Google and too much free time, they too qualify as experts in military strategy, Iranian/Iraqi politics, Scandinavian social democracy, etc. Why travel to Baghdad? Why learn Farsi or Norwegian? The "Google pundits" (or, in Matt Welch's phrase, the "omniscient child pundits") simply free ride off of the reporting of others. Almost makes one sympathetic to those journalists blubbering about the need for government bailouts.

Best: The Rise of The Blogosphere. There are few positive things about that horrid decade that just past, but the rise of blogosphere surely qualifies as one of them. Anything that draws power away from those precious old media types, who for so many years held a monopoly on what and how stories were covered, should be celebrated. Looking back on the media coverage of Iraq, Bush, and the 9/11 attacks, enterprising bloggers of all political stripes helped fact-check the dubious and lazy stories provided by our endangered comrades in big media.

Damon W. Root, Associate Editor:

Worst: Gonzales v. Raich. Not only did the Supreme Court's notorious 2005 decision in Gonzales v. Raich come down against California's popularly enacted medical marijuana law, the ruling maintained the Court's longstanding and disastrously broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause, holding that the intrastate cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana somehow still counted as interstate commerce. As Justice Clarence Thomas correctly noted in his dissent, "If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."

Best: The Institute for Justice. With so much attention focused on the horror show that we call the federal government, it's easy to forget about the many ways that state and local governments steal private property, abuse their regulatory authority, and interfere with every American's right to earn an honest living. That's where the Institute for Justice comes in. Over the past decade, this public interest law firm has racked up a series of landmark victories against eminent domain abuse, unnecessary occupational licensing, and other restrictions on economic liberty. Thanks to IJ's efforts, we're all living in a much freer place.

Peter Suderman, Associate Editor:

Worst: Health Costs Spiral Upwards. After a brief break in the 1990s, health care costs—and in particular, the costs of health insurance premiums—have skyrocketed. As a result, middle-class prosperity has slowed to a crawl, and government has increasingly pushed to "solve" the problem by reducing choice and increasing taxpayer expense and liability. Indeed, many of the decade's worst legislative ideas were driven by factors—an unsustainable budgetary outlook, increased inequality, and a greater sense of financial instability—that resulted in large part from a legacy of poorly designed programs and regulations in the health care sector.

Best: The Mobile Web. Ten years ago, as the information revolution swept America, most U.S. households with Web access still had to fight AOL busy signals—not to mention little sister Suzy's demands to talk on the phone with her boyfriend—in order to get online. Now, tens of millions of Americans carry high-speed browsers in their pockets. For a hundred bucks a month, you can be perpetually connected: This time, the revolution is that you can take the information with you.

Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor:

Worst: The War on Terror. The War on Terror joined the War on Drugs as a major excuse for weakening civil liberties, not only with respect to searches (where drug law enforcement has done most of its damage) but also in the area of due process. The president seriously asserted the unilateral, unreviewable authority to grab people off the streets and lock them up indefinitely as "enemy combatants," based on nothing more than his own assertion that they are linked to terrorism. At its extreme, in memos prepared by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the Bush administration's vision of the War on Terror involved imposing something like martial law, with the armed forces pursuing terrorism suspects in the United States without regard for the Bill of Rights.

Best: The Supreme Court Stands Up For Rights. The Supreme Court resisted much of Bush's power grab, declaring his military tribunals illegal and insisting that his detention decisions be subject to independent review (though exactly what sort of review remains unclear). Bucking a trend going back several decades, the Court also rejected some anti-drug policies, including drug interdiction checkpoints, warrantless infrared surveillance of homes, and strip searches of 13-year-old girls suspected of bringing ibuprofen to school. In a further sign that protection of constitutional rights does not inevitably become weaker as time goes by, the Court officially recognized that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to arms, constraining the government's authority to restrict gun possession.

Jesse Walker, Managing Editor:

Worst: The Permanent Crisis. The best thing about the '90s was that they fell between the Cold War and the War on Terror, with no grand themes to empower and enable the political class—or, at least, no themes grander than school uniforms and Marilyn Manson records. The result was the most individualist decade since the last inter-crisis period, the 1920s. Then the Aughts gave us a new existential military threat and a new economic crisis, allowing Washington to enter a permanent stampede mode.

Best: Mash-ups. There was a time when you had to rely on hip friends with collections of samizdat cassettes if you wanted to hear a weird, funny remix of, say, Ronald Reagan talking about a can of meat. Now you can't go a day without YouTube overflowing with new homebrewed cut-ups of anything notable a politician, newscaster, or other celebrity did on camera in the last 24 hours. As the government keeps accruing power, we can at least enjoy the consolation prize of holding new tools for mocking the bastards as they screw us.

Matt Welch, Editor in Chief, Reason magazine:

Worst: The Loss of Confidence in The West. The West, and America in particular, lost its confidence. Faced with unprecedented waves of freedom and prosperity in the '90s, the Battle of Seattle left went bonkers on conspiratorial, howlingly pessimistic anti-capitalism. Faced with an unprecedented attack on U.S. soil, the National Security center-right and a thick chunk of liberal hawks lost faith in the openness and elevated values that made America both a beacon and a target (as well as the world's most powerful country) in the first place. And faced with the first truly significant economic crisis since 1978-82, both sides of our noxious "permanent governing majority" joined hands to double down on nearly every failed government policy that got us here in the first place, while placing blame at nearly every opportunity on private enterprise. In 10 short years, we went from leading the cause of democratic capitalism, by both example and rhetoric, to getting lectured about our statist economic policies by western Europeans.

Best: The Developing World Getting Richer. China, and most of the developing world, kept getting richer, often dramatically so. There is plenty of dynamism in the world, still; just less and less of the stuff in the Land of the Free.

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  1. The worst decade ever and decade everyone wants to forget bullshit is wearing a little thin. Contextually this decade wasn’t all that different from others.

  2. Best: Continued resistance of the internets to regulation.

    Worst: Continued regulation of every other aspect of our lives.

  3. The worst decade ever and decade everyone wants to forget bullshit is wearing a little thin.

    I liken it to the guys in sandwich boards declaring that the end is nigh. Everyone thinks that the contemporary is the epitome (of good, bad, whatever).

    (Ridiculous, when you consider the 1970’s will always be the worst decade ever.)

    1. Ridiculous, when you consider the 1970’s will always be the worst decade ever.

      I’d take the 1970s over the 1860s any day.

      1. Don’t even get me started about the 470s.

        1. or the -70,000s when humanity nearly went extinct after a cometary impact.

    2. making my argument one response at a time.

  4. This decade wasn’t as bad as the 70s. In fact, without 9/11, one wonders if this decade would’ve turned out better all around.

    The next decade has a chance of really sucking.

    1. This decade wasn’t as bad as the 70s. In fact, without 9/11, one wonders if this decade would’ve turned out better all around.

      The 1940’s was the worst in terms of needless human suffering and bloodshed.

      1. The 70’s the worst?

        The decade of hedonism?

        Ok- disco sucked in the latter part…I’ll give you that.

      2. Not saying the 70s were the worst ever–just worse than now.

  5. Michael C. Moynihan, Senior Editor
    Worst/best: The Rise of The Blogosphere. You win.

  6. Worst – any Reason contributor who endorsed ( for any “reason” ) the current President.

  7. Best: Gun rights in the U.S. and rumbles thereof in other countries. The gun control movement is on life support in the U.S. and in trouble in Canada, though many haven’t noticed it yet.

    Worst: Green rights worldwide. Environmentalism has given new life to the Luddite collectivists.

    1. He said luddite, must have bought a dictionary instead of ammo.

      Umm, do you know that the technology that drives your life is a hundred years old.

      Heat water
      turbine
      electricity.

      Tesla says, bitch.

  8. Luckily now the luddites can organize much more easily by utilizing the internet.

    1. *Head Asplosion*

  9. Best: Technology

    Worst: Politics

    1. Good point. This is true for pretty much any decade.

  10. And as usual, the libertarian nicompoops mis-characterize and obfuscate the truth about the the reasons for the war in Iraq to suit their non-interventionist agenda’s, again reminding the rest of us why the Libertarian party will simply not be taken seriously.

    The days of taking our ball and going home are over guys. The sooner you get over it the sooner non-foreign policy libertarian principles can be taken more seriously amongst the general population.

    1. You’re the nicompoop.

      neener neener

    2. Agenda’s what?

    3. Tman-“The days of taking our ball and going home are over guys”

      so when are you shipping out?

      1. If they ask me to I will until then we have volunteers that are doing better than I could. What’s your point?

        Because I believe that a world without saddam makes the US safer I should have to prove it to you by enlisting?

        Fuck off.

        1. a world without saddam makes the US safer

          Oh, he was a threat to our soveriegnty? Really? What, with all his nuclear warheads, or with the mustard gas that couldn’t have come within 500 miles of our shores?

          Really, dipshits like yourself need to pick an excuse and stick with it – did we invade because Saddam had WMD’s and was going to use them on us, or did we invade because of all the Kurds he killed? If you pick the latter, please let me know when we’re set to invade Zimbabwe to depose Mugabe. The bleeding heart “let’s free the world” crowd has mysteriously been silent on his antics, I’m curious as to why.

          The fact is that dicksucking morons like you and your ilk have ruined the Republican party’s credibility for generations to come. The US public is no longer going to back the idiotic notion that we must invade countries that never attacked us in order to spread peace. Nobody is obfuscating anything – the invasion or Iraq was a mistake and the sooner we get out, the beter. The GOP’s decision to promote McCain over Ron Paul was a disaster. Apart from their stances on Iraq and abortion, there was actually little else that separted McCain and Obama. We missed out on the opportunity to have a leader that actually believed in reducing the size of our government and strengthening our economy, and are now stuck with a clueless idiot bent on ramming the New Deal down our throats. And why would the GOP back McAmnesty over Ron Paul? Because of McCain’s bullshit on staying in Iraq for 100 years.

          Fuck you. Please grow a pair and enlist instead of forcing others to do your dirty work.

          1. hmm – whole post in italics versus just the top line?

          2. Jacob,

            Two things you need to read instead of spewing your mindless drivel about the “fog of war” over Iraq.

            First, the Authorization to Use Military Force, which congress approved.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Resolution

            Jackasses like yourself who like to whine about “what the reason” was for removing Saddam conveniently ignore the laundry list of reasons that were presented to congress and approved by a majority of Senators and Representatives in the AUMF. People like you enjoy pretending that we made “excuses” to remove Saddam when clearly Saddam had given us zero reason to believe that he would stop supporting Islamic Terrorists.

            Which brings me to my second link:

            http://www.husseinandterror.com/
            Saddam Hussein’s Philanthropy of Terror – by Deroy Murdock

            Those people who argue that Saddam had nothing to do with Islamic terrorists who attack the US and our allies are ignorant dangerous morons. And fortunately for us, people like this were ignored.

            And as far as your retarded chickenhawk argument is concerned, I am to assume that you live in a glass house, and every effort you support that our government undertakes you have been personally involved in, right? An even stupider aspect of the chickenhawk argument is that if you follow it to it’s logical conclusion, only people serving in the military can control what the military does, which goes against our whole principle of civilian control of the military. Is that what you want?

            Somehow I severely doubt it.

            Also, fuck you.

            1. Also Jacob, since you’ll probably whine that Murdock is a neocon therefore his page is invalid, I’ll back it up with this.

              http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/iraqi/index.html

              Iraqi Perspectives Project
              Saddam and Terrorism:
              Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents (Redacted)
              Institute for Defense Analyses
              November 2007 (released March 2008)

              Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist?operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a “de facto” link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.

              1. Shut the fuck up, lone Donderoooooooooo!

              2. Boy, you are really good at cutting and pasting! I did click on the second link you provided, and it lead to like 5 other PDF’s. I can’t say I read any of it, as there was one clause that I think underscores my entire point – “these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network.”

                By the way, what exactly is the Institute for Defense Analysis? Could this be a (gasp) government-funded think tank that is linked to our military? Gee, no bias there, right Tman?

                If you’d like some principled analysis of the situation, how about reading what true libertarians think of this ridiculous invasion – http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1649

                approved by a majority of Senators and Representatives

                Excuse me, is that supposed to mean something? How the fuck do those crooks know what’s best for our country? All we’ve been hearing out of these bandwagon Tea Party attendees like you is that we need to reduce the power of the federal gov’t and that statism is bad. Yet, for decisions of this magnitude, you seem to believe the opinion of our “esteemed” legislative branch is suddenly scripture?

                Nice Wikipedia link. I always thought that site was the refuge of high school kids and complete idiots. Thanks for proving me right.

                1. Unlike you I read your link, and I finally get how stupid your argument is. You’re one of these idiots who thinks that unless Saddam had direct contracts in writing with Osama then Iraq wasn’t a material threat to the US.

                  If you had bothered to read any of the links I gave you, you’d see what a stupid argument that is.

                  Al-Qaeda is not the only Islamic terrorist group trying to kill as many Americans as possible, and the links above detail the depths of Iraqs involvement with each of them. Leaving Saddam in power after people like Zarqawi fled to Iraq once he scurried from Afghanistan, to meet other turds like Abu-Nidal or Amir Yasin that Saddam was already hiding, would have been irresponsible and a huge strategic mistake.

                  The wiki link listed has links to the actual text from the 2003 AUMF legislation. You should read it sometime before you make yourself look like a bigger idiot.

  11. Worst: Trendy Environmentalism. Ten years ago, environmental thinking was still something of a geeky subculture, albeit a quietly growing one. Now, like your favorite indie rock band after a few big hits, environmentalism is high on fame, trashing hotel rooms and forgetting the old fans. Everyone has to be “Green” now, not because they understand and appreciate the complexities of ecological science, but because it’s the cool thing to do. You do want to be cool, don’t you?

    1. Its going to turn out alright. After Trendy Environmentalism’s next album tanks in the charts it will be found dead of an OD in some hotel room after a show.

      1. Or was the CRU scandal the “OD in a hotel room” event?

  12. Worst: Idiots that think the Afghanastan and Iraq wars born from Bush policies without any regard for the fact that the head in the sand policies of Clinton directly resulted in 9/11. Witness the escalation of terror attacks against US interests throughout the 90’s.

    Best: These same idiots might finally realize that Bush was mostly right (although he did make real mistakes) now that their pantywaist golden boy is president, but currently keeping his head in the sand about the chaos throughout the world.

    Of course only someone short sighted would limit their best and worst to US policies. The actual worst is the continued failure of nearly all of Africa my nearly all measures. This along with the deepening thuggery of Russia, China, and Venezuala are cause for deep concerns.

    While the best is the continued success of the SE Asia, India, most of S America, much of which used to be failures, though not as bad as Africa.

    1. First line should actually read:
      Worst: Idiots that think the Afghanastan and Iraq wars born from Bush policies are bad…

    2. Keep telling yourself that, buddy. Obama being wrong does not make Bush right.

    3. Clinton bombed the shit out of Iraq – ever hear of Operation Desert Fox? Was that a “head in the sand” move? I thought pre-emptive strikes were a good thing? Does making pre-emptive strikes make one soft on terror?

      And, while you’re trying to answer that, can you explain to me how Iraq had anything to do with 9/11?

      1. “Was that a “head in the sand” move?”

        Yes. Without boots on the ground the move signified nothing. After Mogadishu Clinton lost his stomach for actual fighting, opting, instead for ineffectual firing of missiles.

        “And, while you’re trying to answer that, can you explain to me how Iraq had anything to do with 9/11?”

        http://www.weeklystandard.com/…..0kmbzd.asp

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/…..odada.html

        I think it’s cute when people like you stick your head in the sand denying Saddam’s Iraq being directly involved with terrorism and denying any and all connection between AQ and Iraq. Both are laughable positions.

        1. Well, ain’t this grand! We have two statist idiots on the same board arguing the same point, but using completely contradictory statements! So, if I understand your position, Saddam was directly linked to AQ? Well, your idiot neoconservative colleague Tman graciously provided me with a link to the Institute of Defense analysis, a government-funded think thank, that in 2007 (that’s when GWB was president) released the following analysis of the war in Iraq:

          http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/iraqi/index.html

          I won’t begrudge you for not reading the whole thing, I think it’s total bullshit, but I’ll point out a very interesting finding. According to this group’s research, there is no direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network. Is this just a bunch of “avoid war at all cost” rubbish?

          BTW the first link you provided me from the ever-impartial Weekly Standard went into great detail outlining post-invasion documents that supposedly outlined a link between Saddam and AQ, as well as WMD’s. The article goes on to mention that the public release of these documents was actually hampered by members of the DOD as well as the director of national intelligence. Hmmmmmmm……..why would that be, Ken? Also, the article you provided was from 2006; any updates on these documents? Any reason the Bush administration dragged their collective feet on this? After all, wouldn’t this be the smoking gun the pro-invasion set has been after?

          I won’t be laughing at your positions. They are disgustingly stupid and have lead to the senseless deaths of thousands of our own and tens of thousands of noncombatant Iraqi civilians.

  13. Worst: Capitalism run off its rails. China becomes ultra successful with State Planned Capitalism and the US fails with Market Fundamentalism run amok (the belief that NO rules, NO regulations, NO oversight and scrutiny of banks makes Bear, Lehman, and Merrill investment banks stronger. They failed.

    Soros is right – markets are stupid. See the tulip bubble, the 20’s Margin Bubble, the Dot.com Bubble, and the Housing Bubble.

    Nevertheless, its still the best system in the world.

    The Best: The demise of the American Religious Republican Party of Right-Winged Rednecks.

    1. This is not a test.

    2. Worst: Capitalism run off its rails. China becomes ultra successful with State Planned Capitalism and the US fails with Market Fundamentalism run amok (the belief that NO rules, NO regulations, NO oversight and scrutiny of banks makes Bear, Lehman, and Merrill investment banks stronger. They failed.

      And what is wrong with that?

      Should businesses be kept from failing?

      1. Dude, Bush gave Goldman Sachs billions. Clearly this is Capitalism run amok. The is free market ideology at its most logical extreme. Also the quasi-government agency known as the Fed loaning trillions of monopoly money to banks. It’s all 100% capitalism. Government subsidies for housing? All capitalism. Saving failing industries with taxpayer money? It’s capitalism baby!

        1. That’s not capitalism. That’s a MAN baby!

          1. Bingo didn’t read up on capitalism vs. corporatism. Not his fault. Not taught in community college.

            1. You suck at sarcasm.

            2. I guess they don’t teach sarcasm in community college either…

              1. Heller, what do they teach in community college?

                1. I don’t know, I was just guessing. Also, check out my email address.

                  Clarification: I was implying that commenter Jefferson went to community college and did not learn how to detect sarcasm.

                  1. I was implying that you did go to community college. Why would I? (check out my email address)

                    1. Make a mental note: click on email address before I post comment.

      2. Should businesses be kept from failing?

        Apparently Bushy-Boy and Hank Paulson thought so!

        1. Kind of indicates that Bush and Paulson weren’t in favor of free markets, then, doesn’t it.

          Not that many hit’n’runners believed that they were.

          Oddly enough, it’s only the leftists who seem to believe that what Bush and Paulsen were following was “free market capitalism”.

          1. That’s because anything approaching free-market capitalism is a disgusting proposition to leftists.

    3. China becomes ultra successful with State Planned Capitalism and the US fails with Market Fundamentalism

      China opens its markets a little and now less people live in poverty.

      US closes its market a little and now more people live in poverty.

      Not a good example shrike.

      By the way Hyperion is one of the ten worse books I have ever read.

      1. I am “shrike” from the novel ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ and from the weapon of the same name.

        The US has/had the most open markets of country.

        1. I disagree. I think Willie Nelson has had the most open markets of country for at least 3 decades.

      2. Hey, I liked Hyperion.

        1. Me, too. The series went downhill (especially the last book), but the first one was excellent, I thought.

    4. Shrike

      No, we of the ARRPRWR are still here, just waiting for Obama to completely blow it for the Dems…

    5. Yeah, shrike… there were zero rules, regulations, no oversight.

      And the only thing Soros does right, is fighting the war on drugs. Otherwise, he is a useless piece of crap for a human being.

      As for your “The Best” selection, you’re only half-way there. The demise of the Democrat and Republican parties would make it complete.

    6. There were no rules? So I guess the SEC is an Obama invention.. and Sarbox, well, that never even existed…. must have been a dream.

  14. the US fails with Market Fundamentalism run amok (the belief that NO rules, NO regulations, NO oversight and scrutiny of banks makes Bear, Lehman, and Merrill investment banks stronger.

    Jeebus H, shrike, if you can’t tell the difference between corporatism and market fundamentalism, then there’s no hope for you.

    And if you think the banking and finance sector have no rules, no oversight, etc., then I suggest you check a local law library. Bring a wheelbarrow.

    Soros is right – markets are stupid.

    Soros made his money in the forex markets, essentially betting that governments are stupid. He won that bet.

    1. agreed… anyone who thinks banks arent regulated doesnt have a clue what they are talking about… financial services are probably the most interveined with industry there is, except maybe healthcare…

      1. maybe people should start noticing something… all of the things that are fucked up from healthcare to energy to banking… these are all the industries that government has a huge role in… compare that to relatively free market industries… you never hear about a blue jeans meltdown or a consumer electronics crisis.

        1. Eb, noticing something too:
          “things that are fucked up” and we can’t live/succeed without:
          healthcare,energy and banking.
          Things that we can live/succeed without and better be competitive:
          jeans and consumer electronics

      2. My post was about investment banks you fucking idiot.

        Lehman, Bear, Merrill? The heart of the disaster?

        Ok – a commercial bank takes in FDIC-insured deposits.

        An investment bank or a hedge fund = no regulations.

        Simple enough for you?

        1. Barney Frank or Mel Watt: who would YOU say has the saltier sack?

          1. Try to find something intelligent or humorous to say sometime.

            1. Maybe you should try doing the same A_hole

        2. Just because the FDIC only covered commercial banks doesn’t mean there are no regulations on other financial institutions.. Shrike, grow a brain! There are thousands and thousands of burdensome regulations on the financial sector! You are merely showing your ignorance here.

    2. Investment banks have no oversight other than the SEC rules that any corporation has… Of course now the last two big I-banks (GS and MS) have converted to get to that Fed window.

      And markets value currencies these days (Bretton Woods II)- not governments (China’s peg excepted).

      Tell AIG about their “regulations” on CDS….

      1. You realize Glass is the reason commercial banks were not allowed to be investment banks. Something the rest of the banking world allows. The regulation separated the two in the US. No other country has the two types of banking separated by legislation. The regulation you seek caused the problem you are complaining about.

        CDS were just a bad idea period. And everyone doing it knew it would collapse if the shit hit the fan. So why did we save them again?

        1. Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999.

          Stay current, dude/dudette.

          Its repeal allowed Citigroup to grow into an unmitigated disaster.

          This area is one in which uber-Libertarians exhibit their total dumb-assed-ness.

          CDS liabilities could still wipe out JPM or BAC – but no one except the Fed and the OCC has any idea – if they even do.

          As responsible as ‘Reason’ is – most contemporary libertarians get their talking points from dumb fuckwads like Stossel and Gwen Beck.

          1. So the repeal of GS means that investment banking was not legislatively split from commercial banking? Okay. I’m pretty current with banking.

            The CDS liability that still exists is nothing compared to the dollar for dollar AIG paid out with government money.

            I have no clue why you think the OCC has anything to do with CDS since all they really do is charter. The Fed and FDIC have oversight on bank BS and probably has a good idea of what CDS are left. Most analysts (god I hate analysts) have a pretty decent handle on the CDS exposure left. It’s not too hard to figure out given the AIG bailout narrowed the field considerably.

            The GS repeal, which didn’t happen all at once, did allow consolidation in the banking sector. (Citi, BofA, WF, and all the others) How exactly did this create the disaster? Bad decisions surrounding derivatives made the disaster not the consolidation of banks. Are you arguing the TBF doctrine wouldn’t have been in place if several smaller firms went under? Continental Illinois was the largest until WaMu (not considering the bailout bonanza) and it was only $4.5b. Do you really think the FDIC and Fed would not have just lowered the TBF standard if the banks were not consolidated.

            You have a serious issue with the disconnect between large banks and the mess we are going through. Just because the bank is large doesn’t mean it cause the problem, however, because the bank is large it’s failure could cause problems. (that’s not an endorsement for intervention) I don’t see how the banks being large caused the problem. Poor choices caused the problem.

            1. For clarity the intervention was rationalized and continues to be rationalized with the commercial paper argument. Which has little to do with the size of the banks and more to do with the size of the companies moving CP.

              1. CP was bailed out as well. When LIBOR hit 5%+ in Sep/08 over $5 trillion in CP/MM was pulled out in one day. The Fed stepped in and saved the system by subbing for commercial paper.

                TBTF is not my issue – I never mentioned it.

                I want customer deposits protected from the ravenous money whores in investment. That requires regulation.

                Libertarians don’t care about customer deposits – thats why the most strident of the lot are total dumbasses.

                1. The regulation designed to stop what you see as a problem was Glass, it separated the investment banks. What you were complaining about. The government created a niche market for them through legislation.

                  You understand one of the initial rationales for customer deposit protection and the Fed is to stop the chain reaction of bank runs? Not to protect the little guy, but to protect the system.

                  You really think the people that facilitate companies entering the market or securing bonds are money whores? You realize commercial banks had just as many special vehicles pumping out MBS and even nth CDOs. Not just the investment banks.

                  You have a really weird and skewed view of banking, markets, and their interaction.

                  1. I worked in ETF and lease/loan accounting as well as for Goldman (M&A).

                    I know banking.

                    Your staccato gibberish is not selling with me.

                    1. I wasn’t selling anything. Your logic is ass backwards, your history of the industry and context surrounding the history is somewhere in left field, and your arguments aren’t even remotely based on anything relative to the situation. You said the problem was size with the Citi reference then didn’t mention it when I asked if you thought the bar would be lowered or smaller firms would not have suffered the same problem. You seem to think deposit insurance was designed for the individual which means you have a fundamental lack of understanding of deposit insurance and why it was instituted along with one of the primary rationalizations for the Fed. (in case you missed it one of the major rationalizations was the models were designed to stop the chain reaction of previous bank runs in 19o9 and 1913 since banks held their money in other banks. Not to protect people from investment.)

                      So since you got the ad hom out of the way. why not address what I posted. As per your career, I could care less. For all I know you could be an accountant. (I couldn’t pass up the jab)

                    2. But, but, but in the gangster movies the bank robber ALWAYS says “we aren’t after your money! This is the BANK’S money! Your money is safely insured by the federal government! Don’t be a hero!”

                      Always they say that. Are you saying Robert DeNiro is a liar?

                    3. Unfortunately that is what it has morphed into among other things. Same with the Fed.

        2. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a CDS… the misuse of them is a bad idea. Proper use of them, which many investment firms enjoy, leads to greater profits and reduced risk.

  15. Best: The Innocence Project
    Worst: Anything having to do with Washington politics whatsoever

    1. Best: The Innocence Project
      Good call.

  16. Best: Ron Paul is being taken more seriously by more people

    Worst: Obama, Bush, Clinton

    1. Ron Paul can’t even take Ron Paul seriously – he voted against his own ‘audit the Fed Bill’.

      Of course, auditing the Fed is already an annual exercise so I don’t know if he was full shit on his vote or for the past 30 years when he croaked about the Fed.

      Nevertheless, the GOP hates the guy for his non-nation building stance which is the only reason I respect him.

    2. Does Clinton really count for the 00’s?

      Or is this another “well, it wasn’t bush’s fault because clinton started it” jabs?

      1. Hillary Clinton, my apologies for being too broad. Paul voted against his own bill because it was attached with so much Fing pork.

        1. oh yeah?

          Cite the pork.

          All of the last FY produced $16 billion in pork.

          Yet the Fed bought/increased their balance sheet by $1.6 trillion.

          Some scruples ol’ Ron Paul has – shitting on his own bill for a little pork.

          Or you are full of shit.

          Which is it?

          1. Barney Frank’s H.R. 4173 is the financial reform bill that contained Paul’s Audit the Fed amendment. The overall bill is horrible, creating more government regulation over the economy. The only good part is Paul’s amendment. Paul had to vote against the bill on principle because the overall bill was bad.

            1. Doesn’t matter to big-government prostitutes like shrike, here. His kind only wants more government, thinking “bigger is better” will save the day.

              Oh, and that it’s okay for Dems to spend heaping shitloads of money we don’t really have.

  17. Worst: Election 2008

    Best: the first two Underworld movies

  18. Best: Huge gains in communications. The technology for cell phones and interwebs was mostly figured out before, but the aughts really showed what it could do on a global scale. We’re still waiting for fusion powered, artificially intelligent, genetically engineered, nano swarming gynoids, but right now we can be sexting with our transgendered Thai hooker friends while Twitter Shitting naked in a bus station toilet stall, and that’s pretty damn awesome.

    1. I don’t care how awesome “now” is. Those gynoids overshadow any other tech that i could want.

      Will the same company make androids for tha Ladies?

  19. Best: Internet, obviously
    Worst: Police State’s continuous advancement.

    BTW: We’re calling this decade the Ohs, not the fucking Aughts. I hate that word. It applies to only the 1900s, and it is as dated as that decade, i.e. so last turn of the century.

    1. The Naughties.

      I will hear no argument.

    2. How can you hate thirty aught six. HOW!!

      1. so is a “thirty aught six” “30 00 6” or “30 0 6” or “3 0 6”?

        1. thirty-aught-six is 30-06.

        2. .30-06

          In ten years, as we head into the Roaring Twenties, you will be telling your grandkids what happened back in aught-nine.

          “What’s a blog, grandpa?”

        3. Jebus Kraut.

          .30-’06

          Thirty caliber (.30) 1906 model (’06)

          … Hobbit

      2. That totally proves my point. It’s from a century ago.

        If they made a new model from 2006, they’d say it differently to distinguish it.

  20. Best: Technology for personal purposes. Proliferation of digital cameras and the subsequent rise of crowdsourced news and amateur porn stars. Youtube, twitter, ipod/iphone, tivo… the barrier to entry has never been lower.

    Worst: Technology used for statist purposes. See: Tasers, the surveillance society (UK), red light cameras, body scanners at airports, censorship in China and Australia.

    It’s like an arms race!

  21. Apparently, I’m going to have to point out that 2009 is not the last year of the decade. 2010 is.

    Just like 2000 was not the first year of the new century. 2001 was.

    1. A new decade, century, millenium, eon, etc. start at every moment in time. The century we call “the 1900s” ran from 1900-1999, while “the 20th century” ran from 1901-2000. Likewise, the decade of “the 2000s” need not be entirely contained within the 21st century.

      1. Though of course it must be contained within the century dubbed “the 2000s”.

    2. Thank you. Someone knows how to count to 10.

    3. I’m getting really tired of pedantic smartasses trying to point this out every time someone talks about this decade. TECHNICALLY, you might be right. But technically is not the way we as a population think about this issue.

      The 1970s are considered to be Jan 1, 1970 to Dec 31, 1979. Not 1970-1980.
      The 80s? 1980-1989. The 90s–1990-1999. This did not magically change just because we’re in a new millenium; the 2000s work the same way. Jan 1, 2000 to Dec 31, 2009. OKAY?

      1. I’m 100% on the side of the purists as regards to when a Century ends (or a Millennium) for that matter (namely at the end of the 00 year), but decades are an artificial creation and simply mean a ten-year period (for example, when noting the last decade of someone’s life).

        Since it makes no sense for the ’80s to end at the conclusion of 1990, rather than 1989, I’d say that calling the years 1980-89 the ’80s decade is fine.

        In fact, the dictionary actually defines a decade as:

        “1. a period of ten years: the three decades from 1776 to 1806.
        2. a period of ten years beginning with a year whose last digit is zero: the decade of the 1980s.
        3. a group, set, or series of ten.”

        1. That’s not to say that Centuries and Millennia are not artificial creations, just that they are defined in a way that takes into account the lack of a year zero…

  22. I can’t even spell words I made up.

  23. You’re all idiots. We have another year in this decade. When you count to ten, who the fuck starts with 0?

    1. It’s all about the O

      Whether that be Overstock.com, Oprah, or Obama.

    2. Freaks. Today is the last day of the Ohs. End of story. A year from now will be the last day of the first decade of the 21st century. We’re allowed to count things in multiple, overlapping ways if we so desire.

    3. People keep screwing this up.

      2000 = 1
      2001 = 2

      2009 = 10

      This is not complicated.

  24. Does anyone else believe the worst thing the Feds did to interstate commerce had to do with marijuana? I didn’t realize the billions raked in by Harry Potter, Miley Cyrus, and Frodo were the sign of some kind of mainstream cultural deathmatch. Nick Gillespie should talk to Randy Weaver about the Feds being hands-off in the last decade. Someone needs to tune these Reason editors into the notion of China’s economy crashing in the next decade. Or sooner. 

    Worst: The option of voting for either John McCain or Barack Obama.

    Best: The promise of what’s happening in the streets of Iran.         

    1. “the notion of China’s economy crashing in the next decade. Or sooner.”

      Today?

  25. I didn’t realize the billions raked in by Harry Potter, Miley Cyrus, and Frodo were the sign of some kind of mainstream cultural deathmatch. Nick Gillespie should talk to Randy Weaver about the Feds being hands-off.     

    1. Damn it. I hate trying to edit myself and double posting

  26. Nobody will notice. In fact, I didn’t either.

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  28. “The End of Mainstream Culture in America.”

    I dunno, Nick. Most of the consensual, adult activities I enjoy are still illegal in most of the nation.

  29. Worst decade was the 80’s by far, the religious right took over, well the republican party (not that it was in good shape), there was a “revival” of the christian movement and it came with 10x the force and gave rise to pat roberston, oral roberts and many more.

    Bad fashion, hair styles and terrible music.

    As for this decade:
    Best: The growth of the internet and the resistance to government intervention in it.
    Worst: 9-11 and the financial distaster which gave the government carte blanche to recreate the 1930’s and 40’s….

  30. A decade ends with 9? So on my first birthday, I was actually zero? That accounts for the absence of candles.

  31. Good: Immoral main characters on TV.

    Bad: Everything government.

  32. Doherty cannot back up his assertion that we “murdered” thousands of people. That assertion is as disgusting as it is infantile.

    Best: Saddam is dead and his people have a chance at the freedom that libertarians supposedly cherish.

    Worst: The libertarian movement continues to be a death cult when it comes to national defense.

    Until we can puzzle out something as simple as the need for an enemy combatant designation no one will the libertarian movement seriously. Nor should they.

    1. The US was playing offense, not defense, when Saddam was killed.

    2. Until we can puzzle out something as simple as the need for an enemy combatant designation no one will the libertarian movement seriously. Nor should they.

      Drink!

      The Hit & Run drinking game is the best drinking game of the decade (unless you took it too seriously in which case you may have gotten alcohol poisoning.

      The worst drinking game:

      http://current.com/items/89121…..ulette.htm

  33. Worst: Any of four dozen television shows that made Federal Agents (or governmentally employed scientists) seem intelligent, sexy, effective, and cool. Worst of the worst: a piece of post 09/11 miniseries shite called “Homeland Security”.

    Best: The rise of public/pop atheism in the same decade that began with an inaugural address which actually included the words “angel”, “saint”,”Jericho”, “mosque”, and even went so far as to use “His” with a capital “H”.

  34. Man, I fucking hate retrospectives. Especially retrospectives that go off a year before the decade is over.

  35. What we need is a review of the best and worst retrospectives.

  36. Yo, Ohs. I’m really happy for you, I’m going to let you finish, but the 20th century had one of the best decades of all time. Of all time!

  37. One of the “worst” aspects of the blogosphere, that bloggers free ride off other people’s reporting, may be a feature rather than a bug. It’s directly tied to one of the “best” aspects: fact-checking. In general, bloggers make better use of reporter-generated content than traditional newspapers do. It’s possible, via hyperlinks, to juxtapose every single factual claim in an article with other reporting that reflects on its factual accuracy. Newspaper editors don’t do the reporting themselves; they organize material created by others. And bloggers, by organizing reporter-generated content better than traditional newspapers, are becoming editors for a networked age.

  38. Gillespie with his usual knack for the getting it backwards. The middle class and it’s values was the bulwark of the country and democracy. God, family, Country, personal integrity and shame at being on the “dole” was valued. After years of relentless and unanimous attacks in the media,those values, which Reagan believed in have been lost. Were left with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

  39. Hey guys….. the decades is not over yet! Not until December 31st. 2010 at 11:59pm….. please tell me you all know this.

  40. Best: Science

    Worst: Religion

  41. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

  42. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

  43. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…

  44. Gillespie with his usual knack for the getting it backwards. The middle class and it’s values was the bulwark of the country and democracy. God, family, Country, personal integrity and shame at being on the “dole” was valued. After years of relentlessreplica omega and unanimous attacks in the media,those values, which Reagan believed in have been lost. Were left with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

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