Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Clueless Business Timeline 2008

Sometimes families have a lot going on and don't notice the biggest economic events. We were no exception. I gathered a timeline of major financial events in 2007-2009 and added what my family was doing at the same time. My conclusion: yes, we really were that clueless.


Jan. 11
Bank of America agrees to acquire Countrywide Financial.
-- Christine begins negotiating with her mortgage lender to sell the house in Michigan.

March 16
JPMorgan Chase agrees to acquire Bear Stearns at firesale price.
-- A week later, Ron and Christine sell their house. Hooray!

July 11
Mortgage lender IndyMac Bank becomes the third-largest bank failure in U.S. history.
-- Ron, Christine and Benny live the small life. “We've downsized our lives so drastically in the last year that I still have relatives convinced we sleep on straw mats and eat off a blanket on the floor. At the moment we have a small apartment and that's it. No deck. No car. No playroom.”

Lehman Brothers files bankruptcy; Bank of America agrees to acquire Merrill Lynch. Government takes control of insurer AIG. WaMu files for bankruptcy.
-- Ron and Christine hardly notice; we’re booking school tours for the Great Kindergarten Search.

Sept. 17
The government seizes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
-- Christine reads the Greek tragedy "Agamemnon" to boost her spirits.

Oct. 6
Dow closes below 10,000 for the first time since 2004.
-- -- Christine attends her newspaper’s Infrastructure Business Forum, still coping with the trauma from producing an infrastructure special section.

Oct. 9
AIG bailout #2.
-- Ron and Christine tour San Francisco elementary schools until they want to puke, until the very phrase “test scores” causes a PTSD reaction that involves excessive drooling and a fear of chalk. Who cares about AIG?

Nov. 10
AIG bailout #3.
--We buy Benny a snazzy TIE fighter toy and a little Imperial Engineer. Benny immediately sets the Engineer to chasing zebras on the African plains (seems a bit unsporting).

Automakers receive government aid.
-- We arrive in Detroit for the holidays. Merry Christmas!


Dow Closes below 7,000 for the first time since May 1, 1997.
-- Benny is assigned to Lucky Elementary School in San Francisco. What stock market collapse? It’s a great day!.

March 30
Rick Wagoner resigns from his role as GM CEO.
-- Benny and Christine wander about Cole Valley to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day. Now Wagoner has time to celebrate too.

April 3
Unemployment report shows 8.5% of Americans out of work.
-- A San Francisco mother posts on Christine's mother's group looking for a desk job with no commute, no deadlines, no demands, nobody actually depending on her ... one that she can do only when she feels like it, and presumably requires no capitalization. Good luck with that!

Hmm, perhaps we’re not the only ones who were a little clueless in this economy.

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