It’s not hard to persuade people these days that they’re doing worse than they were 10 years ago. This is the problem with the new declinism. With no compelling vision of the apocalypse that doesn’t involve zombies, cyborgs, or outlaw bikers, we tend to miss something obvious: The problem isn’t that things are collapsing. It’s that not enough things are collapsing. General Motors, AIG, and the government of California have committed enough errors to merit immediate extinction, but there they still are. Yet the political establishment continues to argue that the market needs to be prevented from delivering rough justice to sinners. President Obama, who one year ago gave us a worst-case scenario in which an unstimulated economy might hit 8 percent unemployment by this year, now presides over 10 percent unemployment but tries to bamboozle us with counterfactuals like this doozy from the 2010 State of the Union address: “If we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today.” It’s becoming increasingly clear that by not letting anything collapse, by not allowing sweet, beautiful failure to happen, the government is helping to drag out the pain. That may not be indicative of anything new, but it’s enough to make you want to bulldoze a house or two.