The White House, Washington
Hello, everyone --
In the early hours of September 15, 2008, five years ago last Sunday, Lehman Brothers announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lehman was a giant of the financial system -- the fourth-largest investment bank in the US, a firm that employed thousands of brokers and analysts, with billions in assets that were suddenly worthless -- and its collapse sent shock waves through the global economy.
Suddenly, it was obvious that the next president of the United States would inherit a staggering economic crisis. But the challenge that President Obama was forced to confront didn't just begin in 2008. Even before Lehman Brothers, middle-class security had been slowly eroding for decades as jobs became obsolete or were shipped overseas.
So as we mark this anniversary, we've asked senior staff from across the Obama administration to sit down and talk about the moment when key decisions were made -- the factors they weighed, the results of the actions that President Obama took. What we've put together is a behind-the-scenes look of the decision-making process that you won't find anywhere else.
Check out the story of America's recovery, then share it with your friends.
By the end of 2008, the economy was shrinking by an annual rate of more than 8 percent, our businesses were shedding 800,000 jobs a month, and credit was frozen for families and small businesses. We were in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. On the day that I first began working in the White House in 2009, the auto industry was on the brink of collapse and the President was wrestling with how to help the millions of families in thousands of communities who would have been devastated if the motor companies died.
That's the lens through which President Obama saw his responsibilities, and it's a consistent theme in all the stories we've collected. Every decision he made was meant to stop the economy from spiraling out of control, put people back to work, and reverse the trends that had buffeted middle class for decades. The task was nothing short of monumental -- to clear away the rubble of the crisis and lay down a new foundation for sustained economic growth in the United States.
There's no diminishing the severity of the challenge we've overcome together, and we’ve got a lot more work to do to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. But five years after Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, we want to help everyone get the context and see the full picture.
Take a minute to learn more about where we are five years after the start of the financial crisis:
Deputy Senior Advisor
The White House
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111