In 2008 and 2009, the United States experienced its worst financial crisis and economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Across the board, residential and commercial real estate values, and the value of stocks, bonds, and other securities, plunged from their highs of the preceding years. Americans and investors around the world collectively lost trillions of dollars in wealth, and the crisis touched off what has become known as the Great Recession, which affected tens of millions of households in the United States alone.
While the crisis originated in troubled mortgages and the securities based on them, those financial instruments are far from the whole story. Nor is the story limited to the financial markets. ...

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