The Fall and Rise of America’s economy
The Great Recession officially started with Lehman Brothers folding in late 2008.
Over the next few years, the stock market collapsed, losing half of its value. The early part of the new decade was consumed with residential foreclosures and business bankruptcies. And while the stock market experienced a gradual and steady climb, it was based on the Fed artificially pumping it up by purchasing bonds and flooding the market with cash. The rise in stocks was not based on corporate earnings. Wages stagnated and taxes were raised, while the loss of manufacturing jobs and an anemic 1.6% GDP growth was seen as the new normal.
That all changed with the 2017 tax cuts and deregulation. Business profits soared and the extra money started to see its way down the economic chain. Wages are growing at the fastest pace in decades, with the blue-collar working class rising the fastest.
The lesson we learned from former Presidents Kennedy and Reagan were proven again: tax cuts work. Hopefully that lesson will stay with us for decades to come.
The War on Cops
A man is beaten to death in the Bronx. A college student is robbed and killed in a Manhattan park. A crazy man pushes a defenseless woman into a stationary train on a subway platform. Homeless people once again are taking over large swaths of our parks and subways. Wait, weren’t these all things of the past? Didn’t we reclaim our streets and our safety? Ah, that was before the War on Cops began with controversies in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere.
The Rise of China and U.S. Policy Shift
The last decade saw continued huge growth in China’s economy, while also seeing an expansion of its military ambitions.
Americans crow about a GDP growth of 3%. A bad year for China is 6% growth. They prospered by stealing our technology and forcing hungry companies seeking out their markets to cede 50% of their companies’ control to the Communists. America and the rest of the capitalist world made a deal with the devil when it came to trade with China.
The doctrine of the Clinton presidency was that engagement with China would open them up to democratic norms and human rights enhancements. The opposite has proven true. President Trump’s willingness to take China’s abuses head on have changed the dynamic. It’s too soon at this point to know how this will pan out, but it looks as though American policy and companies in the future will more aggressively seek alternative nations in which to find less expensive labor. Will it cause China to behave more like a G7 nation or will it all lead to a major conflict? That may be the top story of the next decade.
Globalism v. Nationalism
The concept of globalism became so chic amongst the political and media elite that it transformed the centuries old concept of nationalism into a pejorative. Much of globalism has its roots in Marxism. A united proletariat from one part of the globe to the other. No borders. No enclaves of self-determination. Rather, a big brother communist government would rule over all. How remarkable that we now see European leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and Democratic Party candidates for president, including Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, showing a willingness to offshore our democracy. British leaders allowing bureaucrats in Brussels to have jurisdiction over British citizens is what helped prompt the Brexit movement. As the National Review’s Rich Lowry so wisely pointed out, nationalism should not be confused with white nationalists, as the left seeks to do. It is the belief that people within the borders of a single country have the right to self-determination. Democracy can only flourish when the people control their own destiny and do not cede these powers to a foreign entity.
If any Democrat running for president in 2008 ever uttered the words that we should abolish borders, he or she would be instantly disqualified from the race. Not so anymore. Every Democratic candidate on the debate stage raised his or her hand agreeing to decriminalize illegal border crossings. Millions of illegal aliens have been permitted to cross the border over the last decade because our own elected officials are purposefully allowing loopholes to stand which hinder the ability of border officers to enforce our laws. Meanwhile, the European Union which provided for free and open borders throughout Europe has seen millions of refugees flood their cities.
The Media's Loss of Credibility
Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley would be rolling in their graves if they knew that today’s media has proudly labeled itself the Resistance. One New York Times editor actually said out loud that he believes journalists have a duty to abandon their traditional standards in order to remove Trump from office. Washington Post reporters sent out a tweet declaring “Merry Impeachmas.” Then there were three years of peddling a false Russia conspiracy theory.
Trump is wrong to call the media the “enemy of the people.” A free press is the cornerstone of Western democracy.
He’s getting traction though with his “fake news” claims because the media has given him the rope by which to hang them. By countering many of Trump's lies with their own lies, the media has belittled itself. Mark Levin noted in his book, “Unfreedom of the Press,” that the press in the days of Jefferson and Adams was one party’s propaganda against the other’s. There were no pretenses about fairness. Objective standards became the norm in the 20th century. Today we are back to the 18th century where each party has its own media outlet.
Fracking and US Energy Independence.
It may be the most under-reported and unappreciated story of the decade: America went from being dependent on oil from tyrannical regimes such as Saudi Arabia, to becoming the world‘s number one exporter of energy. And it’s mostly because of hydraulic fracking, which has unleashed a plethora of natural gas for domestic and foreign use. It has made energy consumption far cheaper, thereby saving billions of dollars for U.S. consumers. It has also lessened the grip that Middle Eastern sheiks had on our country. Equally important is the fact that natural gas, which is cleaner than coal or oil, has been the prime factor in our nation’s 14% reduction in its carbon footprint over the last 15 years.
Democracy in Decline
The last decade gave us the sobering understanding that the freedoms we enjoy are not guaranteed. Many believed that the arc of justice would ensure that democracies continue to flourish and grow throughout the world. But tyrants in once democratic areas such as Turkey and the Philippines are showing us that ruthless leaders who control the press and the means of communication can rewrite constitutions and snuff out democracy.
Are we becoming so desensitized to mass shootings that we can’t even remember them all? There have been a lot, 223. Way too many. It cannot become the new normal.
Explosion of Opioid Deaths
Remember when car accidents were the number one killer of young people? No more. Now it’s drugs, primarily opioids. Patients seeking to alleviate pain got hooked on expensive prescriptions, only to turn around and seek out cheaper heroin. Once lethal fentanyl was mixed in, the number of fatalities jumped to an unfathomable 70,000 per year.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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