What were people talking about in 2009? From bank failures and bailouts to fraud and the Fed, 2009 has been quite an interesting year to be in the business of money. Here are some of the most memorable quotes of 2009.
"Last year's worst-case scenarios came true. The global financial pandemic that I and others had warned about is now upon us. But we are still only in the early stages of this crisis. My predictions for the coming year, unfortunately, are even more dire: the bubbles, and there were many, have only begun to burst." - Dr. Nouriel Roubini, NYU Professor on the economy.
"What the taxpayer got was an averted calamity." - Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in response to Representative Jackie Speier's sentiment that taxpayers bought Merrill Lynch for Bank of America.
"In the end this is a symptom of a larger problem - a bubble-and-bust economy that valued reckless speculation over responsibility and hard work." – U.S. President Barack Obama on bonuses awarded to AIG executives after the company's multibillion dollar bailout. (Find out why the U.S. government approved an enormous bailout package for American Investment Group in Falling Giant: A Case Study Of AIG.)
"It affects everybody, but I would say to people keep your chin up and keep chugging forward. It will all work out!" - Donald Trump on the tough economy.
"The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." – Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone describing Goldman Sachs.
"Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity." - Pope Benedict XVI.
"[Banks] need a good kick up the bum occasionally." - Wayne Swan, Finance Minister of Australia.
"I get it. I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive." -U.S. President Barack Obama on the taxpayer bailout of troubled banks.
"I had to hold my nose and stop those firms from failing." - Ben Bernanke, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman.
"The United States economy is now out of the emergency room and appears to be on a slow path to recovery. But enormous dosages of monetary medicine continue to be administered and, before long, we will need to deal with their side effects." - Warren Buffett in an op-ed piece for The New York Times.
"By making what was in effect a multibillion-dollar gift to Wall Street, policy makers undermined their own credibility and put the broader economy at risk." - Paul Krugman in an op-ed piece for The New York Times.
"Our government bailout pushes hundreds of billions of phantom dollars back into the economy to bail out hundreds of billions of dollars of poor decisions. I think that's just nonsense." – Sarah Palin addressing investors in Hong Kong.
"Pretty much everybody we know's 401(k) is now a 201(k). Why did that happen? Oh my God, nobody expected this housing crisis through no fault of our ownership of stock prices was decimated. Why is that any different than his explanation? We want our 401(k) money back. I want my stock money back." - Rick Santelli regarding President Obama
"The most wealthy, most fortunate, richest 1% of Americans received 75% of the gains in income across the overall economy over the last six to eight years. This restores some basic fairness to the American economy in a fiscally responsible way that will leave our economy stronger for the future." - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, regarding the tax cuts during the Bush Administration versus the Obama administration's budget plan.
"I left a legacy of shame. It is something I will live with for the rest of my life." - Bernard Madoff in a court hearing where he was handed a 150-year sentence for defrauding investors. (Due diligence does work, but the loose reporting standards for hedge funds make extra care and attention necessary. Learn more in How To Avoid Falling Prey To The Next Madoff Scam.)
The Bottom Line
Lucky for some of the folks on our list, coming up with a memorable quote doesn't require eloquence, accuracy or sincerity. Regardless of their intent or their delivery, each one definitely made 2009 a year to remember.