Better in 2009

I just saw somebody, a very brilliant, normally reasonable person, write on FB that US was doing so much better in 2009. Because Trump wasn’t president then, obviously.

People have gone very, very loopy. They don’t believe what they see or what they experience. Instead, they believe what they read online.

19 thoughts on “Better in 2009”

  1. Clarissa,
    I may drop off your blog, and I’m wondering what you believe. For most people, life is harder now than it was in 2008, before the crash. Jobs pay less, healthcare costs a lot more. The data is very consistent. One stir today was the decision by the Republican governor of Alaska to cut spending for higher education by 41%, with a requirement to close campuses and lay off tenured faculty. We also have the car wreck that is the coal industry; one of the largest companies filed bankruptcy this week. And as my wife and I drive cross-country to visit my mother where you are, we were noting all of the fields that are planted with corn this year, replacing the soybean crops of past years — and providing much lower income to farmers. Yes, life is wonderful for you. Just not for most people.
    Of course, you don’t know that my mother, for example, has a pension plan from your university that is not available to you. It’s much more lucrative with annual COLA increases than what faculty get now. So you may be pleased with what you have, but it’s less than what faculty used to get. You’ve been shafted, but you wouldn’t know that.
    My bitterness is exacerbated by the fact that the Consumer Product (un)Safety Commission doesn’t require helmets to actually protect riders, contributing to the death of a 13-year-old grandson this week. Yeah, life is a whole lot of fun.
    Satisfaction with anything is relative. You come from a bad situation to a better situation, and you’re happy. Go from a better situation to something worse, you’re not. You’re traveling in one direction while most Americans are going in the other. What looks good to you is a downgrade to the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He didn’t say “in 2008 before the crash.” He said very clearly “in 2009.” He wasn’t in this country at all in 2008. I know many people who lost their jobs and houses in 2009. Our university almost collapsed that year. At the baby cemetery in town, not a single year has as many baby deaths as 2009. Not a single year has half the number as 2009. The global economic crisis is known as the Great Recession for a reason. It was a very tough time for many people.

      I’m extremely sorry for your loss. It’s an absolutely tragedy.

      But it’s not a controversial or offensive opinion to say that the global economic crisis was very harsh.


        1. As for us getting shafted, I’ve been at this school for 10 years and based on how little we work, we are being grossly overpaid. Full professors with $90,000 salaries who teach 2 or 3 sections of some intro course, haven’t published anything for years, barely read any books and find it stunning that anybody does – we are not anybody’s victims here. I used to be a passionate believer in tenure but I no longer am after seeing how this works.

          These luxurious pensions paid to people whose only merit is being in the right place at the right time are ruining the state.


          1. The campus was once a commuter school with four buildings, no dorms, and faculty who were intensely involved in building both the school and helping their students. No question that has changed. Salaries were also a lot lower. I totally agree that the tenure system has been abused, although there are states where without it, there would be no science programs.


            1. Abused how is the question – and it’s not just by the faculty who despite having tenure will not stand up for academic freedom or for the institution, and who still act like at-will employees or like entrepreneurs of an individual brand. Arguments about laziness do not convince me — I can spend 4 hours in a closed meeting defending someone’s job, for instance, and then have that very person claim I just lolled around and chatted that afternoon, and I can’t tell them what I really did because it would be rude.


              1. We used to call them deadwood, the people who worked hard for tenure and coasted once they got it. I understand your example, but there are plenty of people with tenure whose role model seems to be the old Beetle Bailey cartoon character.


              2. I know people claim that but I rarely see such faculty in real life. Things aren’t set up to facilitate it . . .


  2. You can always cherry-pick facts to say that “most things are worse” (or that “most things are better”) for “most people,” or “some people,” or “people like me.”

    For many Americans (“some of us”), life has gotten better every single year since 2009 in specific ways that I could document. Anecdotal data applies to individuals, not to an entire country’s population.


    1. I’m just completely confused at this point. I thought there was a general consensus that the Great Recession caused a lot of pain. Hence the name. Do we now not believe that it was a bad time? How about world war I? The great depression? Are we now into those too? Because Trump wasn’t around so it had to be great times?


      1. He is saying that things have improved for some and gotten worse for others. I’d say we’re still in the recession, although the big shock is over — it was a kind of structural adjustment. How we are overall — well it depends on what is measured. You say things are great but then you are also blown away by devastation in some areas of the country. So voilà.


        1. “He is saying that things have improved for some and gotten worse for others”

          But how can that be blamed on Trump? Obama had eight years and his main contribution was to make sure that those that caused the crash wouldn’t suffer any consequences from it…


            1. “I thought the OP was about the 2008 crash, not about Trumpy”

              Well the idea cited was that things were better in 2009 because Trump wasn’t president then… which kind of implies that things are worse for that person because Trump is president, which seems more than a tad unreasonable.
              To be fair, this might be a person who wasn’t immediately affected by rolling economic dislocations and so when they do get him by them their first reaction is to blame the current president…. which is also very unrealistic.


              1. That’s exactly what was said. Things are a lot worse now because of Trump. It’s surreal. It’s totally 1984 where people have their memories erased whenever it’s convenient for the party line.

                It gets so crazy. When I was in Canada last month, a Canadian friend asked me in a tragic voice how I’m surviving. Never asked me this when N lost his job or my son died. It just blew my mind.

                And she’s not a bad person. She reads Facebook a lot, that’s all.


            2. Or wait — I am not sure whether the person quoted in the OP was saying things were better in 2009 than now because we didn’t have Trumpy, or whether Clarissa is assuming that’s why.

              Were things better in 2009, did they feel better, what? It depends. In mid 2009 things stabilized. And life in general felt better before Trumpy because discourse was more civil. It is said that now “the economy” is “better.” To me it feels flat.

              We’ve had another 10 years of US bombings, and so on, since 2009, and spent another 10 years not improving the ecological situation. This is one of the main things we elected Trump to do — get the biosphere of this planet terminated — and he is doing fairly well with that. So by this measure things have improved a lot, we’re much closer to the point of no return.

              We’ve also lost a few more rights and other features of democracy, and women have lost ground. These were other important wishes we had. Obama got SOME work done toward fulfilling them … or at least kept the status quo rather than help move back to pre-2001 levels of democracy … but Trump has been a lot faster at dismantling democratic institutions, so things are much better in that way, as well.


  3. No raises of any kind since then and cost of living has gone way up; lots of new privatizations; major cuts to the university system; major oil spill; subsidence (ground sinking) accelerated in a lot of areas; general degradation increased and increasing. We’ve had some sentencing reform which is good so some of our prisoners (we have as many per capita as North Korea) have gotten out, which is good. But localities need the income generated from filling those prison beds, many of which are in private, for-profit facilities, and the ICE prisoners are useful for this.


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