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“Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999 (2019)”

December 21, 2019

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year! The end of the 2010s decade (or as I like to call it the “teens” decade) seems to have gone by in a blink of an eye. While many “best of” the decade lists have appeared in the past couple of weeks, this blog won’t attempt to repeat them or belabor the obvious. Suffice to say that 2010 began with a still fragile US (and world) economy just beginning to recover from a major financial meltdown in 2008-09. Ten years later we are enjoying positive GDP growth and significant job growth, historically low unemployment and even more significant (above inflation) wage growth as of late. During the decade we had 7 years of a historic Obama presidency (first African American President in US history) which has been followed by 3 years of President Donald Trump who just made history by being the third President to be impeached.

I began this blog at around the beginning of the decade in late 2011. So I thought with the end of the decade I would post a list of my ten favorite posts of this decade. Some of these are funny ( or I hope you think so!). One is very sad. A number of these were my “idea” blogs, almost never original, but ones that I thought could make a big difference for future US policy. I don’t do any of the top 10 full justice in my brief write ups below so please read them in full if you are interested. And of course let me know if there were any others that you liked in particular. So here they are in the order of when I posted them :

  1. “No Sugar Tonight” (4/12) – In 2012, I wrote about the pernicious increase in sugar in the US diet and its obvious bad health effects . I recommended a sugar tax to help discourage overconsumption, with the proceeds used directly to cover federal health programs. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when my blog was referenced in AEP Now, (the company’s intranet site), the over-the-top comments I received seems to suggest that I had proposed taxing the air that we all breathe. Even so, I still think it is a good idea (if it is done across all added sugar in all products) but I doubt it will ever happen.
  2. “1968: Born to Be Wild” (5/13) – My third blog post about rock music confirmed a trend of “yearly” and “favorite song list” blogs in the l960s and 1970s, with another 30 more music posts to follow. (This seemed to correspond with me being too depressed to blog much about Public Policy). Ultimately, much of this material was to find its way into my first book “I’ve Got the Music in Me” published in May 2017. And there is more to come later this year with my new expanded edition (all of the 1960s and 1970s and more favorite lists) planned for this Spring/Early Summer. (Now all I have to do is finish writing it :) ).
  3. “Sixty Years On” (4/14). – I decided to take my own aging/mortality head on with a humorous look at getting older. But now 60 seems so young to me!
  4. “Sarah Smile” (2/15) – On my mother’s 90th birthday, we presented her with a book of memories which included this account of her 90 years paralleled with world events. She got a big kick out of it, as I hope you will too. Stay tuned: she is still going strong and we are set to celebrate her 95th!
  5. “Our House is a very very very fine house” (3/15)– This may be my most intelligent post (although judge for yourselves!) in which I review and summarize Peter Wallison’s excellent book on the true origins of the housing crisis. Spoiler alert: it’s not greedy Wall Street bankers who were the root cause but rather government housing policy dating back to 1992 (with Congress affordable housing goals requirement for  Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac) and continuing thru the next 15 years. Too bad Congress still doesn’t understand these root causes. No doubt we may be doomed to repeat history.
  6. “Water, Water Get Yourself in that Clear Cool Water” (5/15) – In the midst of one of California’s worst droughts , I wrote about a market solution to water consumption and supply in an all too often anti-market state. California’s antiquated water allocation system still is severely broken and leads to all types of behavior that only exacerbates wasteful behavior. Marketable water rights ( plus a minimum free and allocation for households and small businesses) would encourage conservation and more efficient agriculture and more supply . Too bad that California hasn’t even considered a move in a sensible direction.
  7. “Debt”(10/15) – As my blog readers know, I have posted multiple times over the past decade about our huge federal debt, deficit and future liabilities – so much so that I should rightfully be called a broken record. However, numbers in multiple trillions are so unimaginable that they are meaningless to most of us. Hence, my favorite blog was about Big Joe Spender which had an eerie similarity to the federal government spending and debt problems ( except all the numbers were 10 million times lower) .
  8. “Inside Out, Outside In, Perpetual Change” (1/16)- My public service post on colonoscopy with 20 questions and answers on this procedure based on my recent experience in early 2016. Naturally, this was a very serious post, highly factual and done without any humor or sarcasm. :)
  9. “Yeah I’m the Taxman” (4/17) – I have blogged multiple times about our horrific tax system in the US. This blog summarizes most of my recent thinking as to why it is still a big problem (and a terrible waste of trillions of dollars) and how to fix it (albeit thru a radical change) while still collecting all the necessary revenues to pay for all of our federal programs.
  10. “My Bonnie” (11/17) – My sister Bonnie’s long struggle with Picks disease ended with her death in late 2017. My blog post focused on Bonnie during a happier time and my remembrances of the best sister a brother could ever have.
Of course, there are many events during the 2010s that my posts did not cover. For the most part, I tried to steer away from politics and religion which these days are more important than ever to avoid. But I have really enjoyed writing them.  So as long as someone is reading them, I will keep doing it during the 2020s.
Happy Roaring 20s.

 

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