March 2008 opened with Barack Obama trailing Hillary Clinton by roughly five points in the democratic primary race. Later that month, J.P. Morgan announced plans to buy investment bank Bear Stearns, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace amid a prostitution scandal, and Bret Favre retired from the Green Bay Packers. Since then, Obama was twice elected president, JP Morgan’s net income is $21 billion ($5 billion greater than before the “Great Recession”), Spitzer recovered well enough to host two television shows, and Favre came out of retirement, played three more years, and retired again. Time changes things and not always in ways most would have predicted.
In the March 2008 Perspective, we focused on the common refrain that the US would hit a housing downturn that would slide into a free fall, causing the worst collapse in the country’s history. (You can read our response to this here.) It was, many said, unavoidable. Five years later, we see a vastly different picture.
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