Feature

The worst decade in history?

In Washington, the widening gulf between Republicans and Democrats has led to a stalemate in which no major problems are solved, said Ronald Brownstein at the National Journal.

Ronald Brownstein
National Journal

Have the 10 years “since that achingly blue morning in 2001” been the worst decade in American life? asked Ronald Brownstein. During this period of interminable war and economic decline, our leaders have prevented another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil—“the decade’s great success.” But the Bush administration badly mismanaged the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the wars’ costs have “sapped U.S. strength,” both in dollars and in our nation’s image around the world. In 2008, the collapse of the housing bubble and the ensuing economic meltdown triggered the deepest and most prolonged challenge to American prosperity since the 1930s: The median income has fallen, and, “incredibly, fewer Americans are working today than in September 2001—a decade-long record of decline.” In Washington, the widening gulf between Republicans and Democrats has led to a stalemate in which no major problems are solved. In 2011, Americans may not know the “depths of misery” our forebears felt in the Civil War or the Great Depression. But this last decade may well be “our lowest point since then.”

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