Stewards of a Sinking Ship
The economy continued down its rough road in 2009, with any hope of a quick recovery dashed by a rising wave of foreclosures and unemployment. Banks reined in lending to consumers and businesses while Wall Street firms pulled down record profits and offered generous bonuses. Perhaps the biggest economic disappointment of the year was the inability of the Obama Administration and the lending industry to slow foreclosures. In 2009, an ever-higher number of homeowners lost their houses, found their mortgages in peril after losing their jobs, or wound up owing more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. And the administration’s foreclosure relief program stalled, completing few far loan modifications than projected. By the end of the year, the feeling was that Wall Street had been rescued by the government and was thriving — and that Main Street was left out in the cold. Here are the individuals who most influenced the perception and policy of the economy in 2009.