It would be difficult to overstate the dire condition of the U.S. economy as inherited by President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. At that time, the economy stood on the precipice of collapse. Over the past year and a half, a combination of economic stimulus spending and continued bank bailouts successfully averted a second Great Depression and returned the major banks to profitability. But the challenge of laying the foundation for a more promising long-term economic future for America remains largely unaddressed. In fact, despite recent positive GDP and employment data, the foreclosure crisis that initially imploded the credit markets and undermined the economy continues to worsen. And many characteristics of the current recovery are cause for concern.
This paper presents five key points about the recent near collapse of the financial system and the efforts to rein in foreclosures and reinvigorate the economy. It concludes with recommendations to ensure a robust and sustainable economy that serves working Americans more effectively and that limits the prospects of a repeat of the financial misconduct that led to the crisis.