DMI Blog

Amy Traub

I Remember 2009…

YIR_09_Thumbnail1.jpgEarlier this week, DMI released our 2009 Year in Review. We explore the nation's best public polices (if you haven't heard about the TRADE Act and its potential to restructure globalization, read up!) ; the worst policies proposed this year (Missouri's "Tax Backwards" is a real stinker); and, as Harry explained in his most recent post, a look at what the nation's mayors think about federal economic recovery efforts. As always, we've got a fresh DMI Injustice Index (pdf) and a list of great progressive reads for your holiday break.

More than anything else, we'll remember 2009 for the halting, only partially successful efforts to dig ourselves out from the avalanche of daunting problems facing the country. As we note in the introduction:

This January, President Obama stepped into office to face a nearly overwhelming array of challenges: a plummeting economy that threw millions of Americans out of work - and left them unable to find new jobs; an unrepentant financial industry, eager to return to the era of risky bets and astronomical compensation even as they relied on taxpayer largesse to avoid a wholesale collapse; an increasingly unaffordable health care system that threatened to bankrupt the public purse while leaving millions without coverage; the threat of global climate change, capable of devastating the world if we don't rapidly and dramatically reduce emissions; crashing home values and retirement savings; workplace abuses; consumer scams; rights denied to undocumented immigrants and to homosexual citizens; mediocre schools; ever more costly colleges; overstuffed prisons; crumbling infrastructure...

And that's just on the domestic front.

Backing up the new president: a numerically strong but internally fractured Democratic majority, still too much under the sway of powerful industries and cautious ideologies to take the bold actions necessary to confront the nation's problems.

On the other side: a radical minority uninterested in progress or compromise, ready to stir up - and fall for - the wildest conspiracies. (Death panels, anyone?)

It made for a tumultuous year.

We saw progress: the stimulus legislation may well have kept the nation from complete economic collapse, the EPA moved to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and Congress curtailed credit card abuses. But it was less than we hoped for - and, frankly, less than we needed. At the same time, lax gun laws, harsh immigration enforcement, and political insiders' cozy relationship with Wall Street threatened to move the nation backward. The quality of health care reform, perhaps the single domestic policy that will most define 2009 when the history books are written, remained uncertain as this report went to press.

DMI's Year in Review offers a first look back at 2009 in politics and policy. Let's work for better in the year to come.

Amy Traub: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:22 AM, Dec 17, 2009 in Year in Review
Permalink | Email to Friend