2010: Ready or Not — Here’s To You, Kid

Wow. Another year in the dumper. A year ago I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my family in Dublin. This morning I chased the treadmill belt for almost an hour here in NE Ohio — with just enough snow falling to make the roads too slippery and dangerous to hit the concrete on the last day of the year. Oh well. Like most years, 2009 proved to be a slippery road for many.

For instance:

  • The stock market appears to be off life support. And that’s good news for most, especially for people like me who are moving into the golden years and need to start tapping retirement accounts. But consider this: the U.S. stock market is completing its worst decade ever. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “In nearly 200 years of recorded stock-market history, no calendar decade has seen such a dismal performance as the 2000s.” As you’re chewing on your New Year’s pretzel, consider what your retirement will be like if we go through another decade or two of similar pathetic results.
  • The number of people who are unemployed — or who are underemployed — remains unacceptably high. And this is the issue that will define the Obama presidency — and dictate the outcome of the 2010 elections.
  • The debacle and contentious debate over health care represents a lost opportunity to extend medical coverage and reduce costs. Just sayin’. And it demonstrates how polarized we remain as a nation over virtually every significant issue. That inability to compromise, to achieve consensus — caused in part by a total lack of civility — represents every bit as much of a threat to our future as soaring deficits, wars we can’t possibly win, the unwillingness of Major League Baseball to repeal the designated hitter rule and so on. Where’s my blood pressure cuff? I digress.
  • Government Motors is going to survive — and that’s good news for thousands of people and communities who depend on real jobs that pay decent wages.
  • And finally, we can put the pitchforks back in the garage. You and huff and puff — and Tweet and blog — but you can’t change the shameful and unethical (if not illegal) behavior on Wall Street. Woot.

Saying all that, I’m fortunate. No real complaints personally about 2009 — or for the decade that fades away at midnight as well. In fact, I’ll look back on the aughts as being the best of times for me professionally — having the opportunity to teach at Kent State and to be associated with so many wonderful students, faculty and administrative staff.

Since there is no chance of me being awake to ring in the new year, let me raise my glass now and wish you a happy new year and every success in 2010.

And to the new year 2010 — here’s to you, kid.

Let’s go get ‘em.

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