In its recent look back on the first ten years of the century, Time Magazine proclaimed the period to be "the decade from hell." The editors made their case based on what they saw as the signature events of the last ten years, notably the ravages of terrorism, failed wars, and a global financial crisis. Taken together, these factors produced an era that Time is convinced will be remembered as one of the low points in our history.
As the media hates to dwell on the negative, the commentary was rife with notes of optimism about pending recovery. It could hardly be accidental that in the very next issue, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was named "Man of the Year" for his supposedly Herculean efforts to keep the economy afloat as we departed the Naughty Aughties. Although Time takes pains that to point out that the "Person of the Year" honor reflects impact rather than adulation, its profile of the Chairman was triumphant.
Even if you believe the "survived the worst/turned the corner" narrative offered by Time, it still should strike anyone as ironic that Chairman Bernanke, a chief architect of the economic problems that surfaced in 2007, should be held in such high esteem. [more]
December 29, 2009 01:59 PM EST by Elizabeth MacDonald
Submarined in an "update" on the "status" of Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), the White House quietly announced on Christmas Eve that, instead of just pumping in hundreds of billions of dollars, its support for the GSEs' damaged Hindenburg-sized balance sheets would be unlimited for the next three years. [more]
December 28, 2009 09:39 AM EST by Elizabeth MacDonald [more]
As business owners undergo the yearly ritual of passing through eye-popping health insurance premium increases to their employees, it's easy to understand why any attempt at health insurance reform would be met with some degree of hope. Unfortunately, President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress are about to take a very bad system and make it unimaginably worse.
While ramming their new legislation through Congress, the Democrats have taken great pains to point out that they do not intend to "socialize medicine." But make no mistake, that's where we're headed. Even if some naïve centrists believe that their efforts have denied the Left a total victory, the practical implications of the current legislation sow the seeds for complete capitulation. [more]
Two things I wanted to share. [more]
Although Barack Obama has refrained, at least for now, from delivering triumphant speeches in a naval flight suit, there is nevertheless a strong tone of accomplishment emanating from the President and his deputies. Over the weekend, top White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers even pronounced that the recession is now over. Without hedging his bets, Summers declared that thanks to the Obama Administration's wise stewardship, economic stimuli, and emergency bailouts, another Great Depression, set up by the prior Administration, had been narrowly averted. Summers saw no impediments to the return of sustainable growth. He may as well have delivered these remarks from the deck of an aircraft carrier. [more]
In keeping with the idea that children are our greatest resource and the greatest investment we can make is an investment in our children (yes, I'm stretching a bit to keep this "investment-related"), and also in the spirit of Foolanthropy 2009, I wanted to ask my fellow Fools a question that I probably otherwise wouldn't have. I hoped perhaps someone had a similar experience of their own or knew someone else who did. Plus with it being a weekend and Fools likely having more time to contribute without the markets being open, thought it was the best time to post this. [more]