Lewis: 2009 could only make us miss 1999
By Al Lewis
December 30, 2009
It's not like Prince sang, "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 2009."
In 1999, a book called "Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market" hit bookshelves. But in 2009, it was "The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Debt Crisis of 2010- 2012."
In 1999, investors cheered as the Dow Jones Industrial Average blew past the 11,000 mark. In, 2009, investors cheered as the Dow crept back over the 10,000 mark.
In 1999, the Nasdaq topped 4,000. In 2009, it squeaked past 2,000.
In 1999, the nation's unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent, the lowest in 30 years. In 2009, the nation's unemployment rate soared to 10.2 percent, the highest in 26 years.
Goldman Sachs raised more than $3.6 billion in what was then the
second-largest initial public stock sale in
In 1999, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates topped the Forbes' list of richest Americans with a net north of $85 billion. In 2009, he still topped the list, but with a net worth of only $50 billion.
In 1999, Time magazine named Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos "Person of the Year" for founding a company while losing millions of dollars. In 2009, Time magazine named Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke "Person of the Year" for averting another Great Depression while losing billions of dollars.
In 1999, President Clinton proposed paying off the $5.6 trillion national debt by 2015. In 2009, President Obama proposes to start paying off the $12.1 trillion national debt by — ah, ah, ah — as soon as the economy recovers.
In 1999, the end of civilization loomed on Y2K. In 2009, the end of world was just another special effects movie, "2012".
Moody's downgraded debt in
In 1999, investors worried about cheap bicycle maker Huffy Corp. as it defaulted on unsecured lines of credit, causing dividend checks to bounce. In 2009, taxpayers had to worry about General Motors Corp. and Chrysler.
In 1999, Bernard L. Madoff helped develop an electronic auction system for the entire Nasdaq market. In 2009, Bernard L. Madoff helped develop an electronic monitoring system for himself.
In 1999, Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard became first balloonists to circumnavigate the globe in the Breitling Orbiter 3. In 2009, the Balloon Boy story circumnavigated the globe when Richard and Mayumi Heene claimed their 6-year-old son, Falcon, took off in a helium-filled flying saucer, allegedly to land a reality TV gig.
Michael Jordan, John Elway, and Wayne Gretzky retired. In 2009,
Martha Stewart OmniLiving and World Wrestling Entertainment had
an initial public stock offering on the same day. In 2009, it
was Duoyuan Global Water Inc., a
In 1999, bird flu rekindled fears from the deadly 1918 flu epidemic. In 2009, swine flu rekindled fears from the deadly 1918 flu epidemic.
In 1999, the nation mourned the loss of John F. Kennedy Jr. to a tragic plane crash. In 2009, the nation mourned, and mourned, and mourned, and mourned the loss of Sen. Ted Kennedy.
In 1999, R.
Allen Stanford, owner of the largest offshore bank on the
In 1999, preacher Jerry Falwell attempted to out Tinky Winky as gay Teletubby. In 2009, Ted Haggard, another prominent preacher who was outed for his methamphetamine-laced tryst with a gay prostitute, attempted a comeback, giving paid speeches at churches around the country.
In 1999, Falwell also predicted the arrival of the Antichrist within a decade. Too bad it didn't happen. In 2009, I heard Ponzi scheme victim Burt Ross wish, "May Satan grow a fourth mouth where Madoff deserves to spend the rest of eternity." And then I read how Stanford expressed a similar wish for himself, "I would die and go to hell if it were a Ponzi scheme."
Where is Satan when you need him?
Here's to a less hellish decade ahead.