As 2009 comes to a close, many people are saying “Good Riddance!” And why not? It marks the end of a decade that some are actually calling the worst in history. Are they right? Well, here is the evidence.
After the non-event of Y2K, we were witnesses to a horrific terrorist attack on American soil followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of course we also had anthrax letters and the DC sniper. Mother Nature was not very kind either as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc and is still affecting many Americans. It was the largest and most expensive natural disaster in our country’s history.
Financially things were certainly no better. The Wall Street scandals of Enron and WorldCom made us realize just how vulnerable we all were. Then the housing market, artificially inflated by cheap money and easy credit, came crashing down like the house of cards it was. The major markets experienced their worst decade in the history of organized trading, and the economy pretty much had a total collapse.
Our infamous poster boy, prisoner No. 61727-054, a.k.a. Bernie Madoff, rots away in a Butner, N.C., jail cell, doing 150 years for orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of humanity. Yes – it was quite a decade.
Naysayers are still using every format possible to scream bloody murder and predict the collapse of mankind, as others are positive that the world as we know it will end on December 21, 2012. But believe it or not, there is lots of room for hope, and much of that is even based on fact! Here are a few tidbits to get you in a positive spirit as the next decade begins to emerge.
The economy is improving. That’s right! The unemployment rate dropped last month, the economy grew by 2.2% in the third quarter of 2009 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a full 60% from its bottom in March! Practically every economist is predicting a huge upsurge in job creation next year. The release of a new Taylor Swift CD followed by a tour may also pick things up by a few percentage points. Things are pointing to a decent or possibly even great year ahead.
Banks are actually repaying their bailout money. Many major banks (even those that were predicted to “ghost”) have either paid back or have announced their intentions to pay the government (and taxpayers!) back. The Treasury Department has stated that just about all of the $700 billion will be returned. Who ever saw that coming?
Crime is down. Violent crime rates have not been this low since the early 60s! Criminologists have many theories and can’t seem to agree why this is true – but who cares? This has to be a good sign.
The Swine Flu wasn’t all that bad. With apologies to those who had serious health problems from H1N1, this was not nearly as bad as many health experts predicted. Put the masks away! (Keep using the Purell though.) The world is not coming to an end quite yet.
So there you have it – some positive signs at the end of a bad year and a pretty rough decade. Still, even with much of this bad stuff still lingering, many dental practices continue to grow and thrive; some are closing out the decade with their best year ever. But even if things have not been so stellar for you, we are excited about the year and decade ahead. Signs are pointing to great things for our profession and for the country as a whole. Keep going – don’t lose faith. We will prevail! We have to.