The Promise of Better Times

Remember the late 1990s? That period where the Long Boom seemed like it might go on indefinitely; when new technologies were exploding into view around every corner; when all sorts of hubristic, Great Leap Forward talk was in the air, and when neither inflation nor unemployment seemed a particularly significant problem. Even the working poor were making income gains, for the first time in what seemed to be an eternity.

The great national mood dissipated quickly, didn’t it? And in the course of the years since, a lot of individual and collective investments and dreams have dissipated as well. Perhaps some of the disillusionment was inevitable, but you and I know that public policies, some well-intentioned, others entirely and deliberately malignant, played a big role as well.

If you made it through the Bush years and the Great Recession more or less intact, you can thank your lucky stars. But If I were you, I’d want to invest at least a little bit of my good fortune in anything I could think to do to keep a bright light shining on the shenanigans of our would-be rulers in Washington, and a loud voice raised against stupid policies that ruin lives. There are plenty of ways you can do that, but I hope you’ll consider making a donation to the Washington Monthly to keep this small but sometimes influential operation alive. It’s a whole lot cheaper than a political campaign, and a lot more emotionally satisfying than finding a congenial bit of sand in which to hide one’s head until better times arrive. They will, eventually, I can only hope, but they’ll get here faster if we all pitch in.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.