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Archives: Top Stories of 2009

Originally published in December 2009
Simon Nguyen

2009 has been quite an eventful year. We have had just about everything: an economic recession, the swine flu pandemic, new wars & conflicts, the health care debate, and deaths of notable icons. Here is a list of the top stories of 2009. These news stories and headlines are selected based mostly on economic and social considerations.

1. Global Economic Recession

2009 could have very well been called the year of the near-Depression. All the economic indicators had pointed to a level of economic stagnation, not seen since the Great Depression. Fortunately, the U.S. Federal Reserve as well as central banks around the world was able to steer the global economy clear of fierce economic headwinds helping the world avoid a second depression. But the story does not end there. In order for the Federal Reserve to get the U.S. economy out of the economic quagmire, the institution has had to enact monetary measures so great that they are beyond the scope of economic understanding. As these unprecedented measures (such as basically giving the dollars away for free) are all reactive rather than preventive, there will definitely be consequences--grave and unprecedented. In short, hyper-inflation is coming and people (in the U.S. at least) should be ready for it. All in all, the global recession is without a doubt the top story of 2009.

2. Swine Flu (or H1N1) Pandemic

The threat of a global H1N1 outbreak has kept the world in alert mode for most of 2009. A substantial swine flu epidemic could have caused social isolation, economic calamity (amid an already weak economy), and millions of untimely deaths. But similar to the global economic crisis, H1N1 has thankfully failed to materialize into the epidemic some had feared. The swine flu virus is not an overly deadly strand and its impact is mostly under controlled. The pandemic has actually been an enormous plus for pharmaceutical companies as sales of flu vaccines and masks are booming due to strong demands. I bet the executives of these firms will be rewarding themselves with big performance bonuses.

3. Health Care Legislation/Debate

Health care reforms have been on the top of the agenda of the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress for the entire 2009. In spite of a whole lot of shouting and debating, no health care legislation was actually passed. The two main obstacles to any reform have been ideology and costs. The Democrats fancy a government takeover of health care, while the Republicans want health care to remain as it is. As both positions are in the extremes, it is almost impossible for the two parties to reconcile their differences. Additionally, any health care legislation will probably balloon the already monstrous deficits. The thought of this has given people legitimate reasons to take pause and to reconsider their support for the legislation.

Honorable Mentions: President Obama’s Inauguration, Afghanistan Escalation, Somali Piracy, Climategate, and Michael Jackson’s Death.

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