Tomorrow, September 15, marks four years since Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and the financial crisis, complete with TARP and bailouts and more bankruptcies, shotgun mergers, "Too Big to Fail" (see below), and the end of a long, debt-fueled boom economy.
You could make the argument that we're still not recovered — and in fact some experts insist that there never was a recovery and that we're continuing to deal with the aftermath of the worst financial downturn since 1929.
There's little doubt that the U.S. economy is still in bad shape. Unemployment is high at 8.1 percent, fewer Americans are in the job market than at any time since the early 1980s, housing remains a mess in much of the country (especially California), and the national debt recently crossed the $16-trillion mark. The Federal Reserve just announced that it will once again put money into the economy to stimulate growth and hiring and provide a boost to consumption and the housing market.
To slightly modify a Talking Heads lyric, "You may ask yourself, well, how did we get here?" The Lehman bankruptcy in 2008 wasn't completely to blame. But it was the events that pushed everything over the edge. It cost the Republicans the WHite House and Congress. But its hangover is being felt as we gear up for another presidential election.