Ah, 2009. For the past week or so, I’ve lived in a time vortex propelling me back to that year. Then, as now, a Democratic president was about to take the White House; there was much chatter about Barack Obama’s legacy; and Gucci Mane’s music was of utmost importance.
Yet it would have been impossible then to imagine each becoming so relevant now: Joe Biden’s election as president, a Verzuz battle amid the pandemic, and Obama’s memoir all smashing together. The world is acting like a poorly performed “10 years later” article.
So, what can 2009 tell us about now?
Looking back at our January+February 2009 issue, it’s surprising to see the number of echoes of the present. There were discussions about race versus class, whether to lock up Cheney for war crimes, and pushes for broad plans to fundamentally change the economy.
One, from David Cay Johnston, that ran as our cover story, is an interesting document. He lays out a few ways to substantially change the tax code instead of “tinkering around the edges.” You might recognize a few of the ideas: fix student debt (Biden is talking about doing that), tax the rich (Democrats are talking about doing that).
There’s more to dig into there, from a takedown of stimulus spending to an examination of welfare’s means testing.