- In 2006, the subprime mortgage crisis heralded the start of the Great Recession.
- Banks and other financial institutions invested in home mortgages as derivatives because they were sure that they were sound collateral for MBS.
- Many interest-only loans were cobbled together and made available to even subprime borrowers or those with poor creditworthiness to feed the tremendous surge in demand for derivatives.
- When the housing bubble broke in 2006, the Fed hiked rates at the same time, subprime borrowers began defaulting. Subprime mortgage derivatives have lost value.
- Banks, hedge funds, and insurance companies that were “too big to fail” found themselves with worthless investments. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection.
Who is responsible for the 2008 Great Recession?
The Lenders are the main perpetrators. The mortgage originators and lenders bear the brunt of the blame. That’s because they’re the ones that started the difficulties in the first place. After all, it was the lenders who made loans to persons with bad credit and a high chance of default. 7 This is why it happened.
What triggered the financial crisis of 2008?
Years of ultra-low interest rates and lax lending rules drove a home price bubble in the United States and internationally, sowing the seeds of the financial crisis. It began with with intentions, as it always does.
How did the United States emerge from the Great Recession of 2008?
Congress passed the Struggling Asset Relief Scheme (TARP) to empower the US Treasury to implement a major rescue program for troubled banks. The goal was to avoid a national and global economic meltdown. To end the recession, ARRA and the Economic Stimulus Plan were passed in 2009.
Who profited the most from the financial crisis of 2008?
Warren Buffett declared in an op-ed piece in the New York Times in October 2008 that he was buying American stocks during the equity downturn brought on by the credit crisis. “Be scared when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful,” he says, explaining why he buys when there is blood on the streets.
During the credit crisis, Mr. Buffett was particularly adept. His purchases included $5 billion in perpetual preferred shares in Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), which earned him a 10% interest rate and contained warrants to buy more Goldman shares. Goldman also had the option of repurchasing the securities at a 10% premium, which it recently revealed. He did the same with General Electric (NYSE:GE), purchasing $3 billion in perpetual preferred stock with a 10% interest rate and a three-year redemption option at a 10% premium. He also bought billions of dollars in convertible preferred stock in Swiss Re and Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), which all needed financing to get through the credit crisis. As a result, he has amassed billions of dollars while guiding these and other American businesses through a challenging moment. (Learn how he moved from selling soft drinks to acquiring businesses and amassing billions of dollars.) Warren Buffett: The Road to Riches is a good place to start.)
What caused the global financial crisis?
In September 2008, Lehman Brothers, one of the world’s largest financial organizations, went bankrupt in a matter of weeks; the value of Britain’s largest corporations was wiped out in a single day; and cash ATMs were rumored to be running out.
When did it begin?
Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on September 15, 2008. This is widely regarded as the official start of the economic crisis. There would be no bailout, according to then-President George W. Bush. “Lehman Brothers, one of the world’s oldest, wealthiest, and most powerful investment banks, was not too big to fail,” the Telegraph reports.
What caused the 2008 financial crash?
The financial crisis of 2008 has deep roots, but it wasn’t until September 2008 that the full extent of its consequences became clear to the rest of the globe.
According to Scott Newton, emeritus professor of modern British and international history at the University of Cardiff, the immediate trigger was a combination of speculative activity in financial markets, with a particular focus on property transactions particularly in the United States and Western Europe and the availability of cheap credit.
“A massive amount of money was borrowed to fund what appeared to be a one-way bet on rising property values.” However, the boom was short-lived since, starting around 2005, the gap between income and debt began to expand. This was brought about by growing energy prices on worldwide markets, which resulted in a rise in global inflation.
“Borrowers were squeezed as a result of this trend, with many struggling to repay their mortgages. Property prices have now begun to decrease, causing the value of many banking institutions’ holdings to plummet. The banking sectors of the United States and the United Kingdom were on the verge of collapsing and had to be rescued by government action.”
“Excessive financial liberalisation, backed by a drop in regulation, from the late twentieth century was underpinned by trust in the efficiency of markets,” says Martin Daunton, emeritus professor of economic history at the University of Cambridge.
Where did the crisis start?
“The crash first hit the United States’ banking and financial system, with spillovers throughout Europe,” Daunton adds. “Another crisis emerged here, this time involving sovereign debt, as a result of the eurozone’s defective design, which allowed nations like Greece to borrow on similar conditions to Germany in the expectation that the eurozone would bail out the debtors.
“When the crisis struck, the European Central Bank declined to reschedule or mutualize debt, instead offering a bailout package – on the condition that the afflicted countries implement austerity policies.”
Was the 2008 financial crisis predicted?
Ann Pettifor, a UK-based author and economist, projected an Anglo-American debt-deflationary disaster in 2003 as editor of The Real World Economic Outlook. Following that, The Coming First World Debt Crisis (2006), which became a best-seller following the global financial crisis, was published.
“The crash caught economists and observers off guard since most of them were brought up to regard the free market order as the only workable economic model available,” Newton adds. The demise of the Soviet Union and China’s conversion to capitalism, as well as financial advancements, reinforced this conviction.”
Was the 2008 financial crisis unusual in being so sudden and so unexpected?
“There was a smug notion that crises were a thing of the past, and that there was a ‘great moderation’ – the idea that macroeconomic volatility had diminished over the previous 20 or so years,” says Daunton.
“Inflation and output fluctuation had decreased to half of what it had been in the 1980s, reducing economic uncertainty for individuals and businesses and stabilizing employment.
“In 2004, Ben Bernanke, a Federal Reserve governor who served as chairman from 2006 to 2014, believed that a variety of structural improvements had improved economies’ ability to absorb shocks, and that macroeconomic policy particularly monetary policy had improved inflation control significantly.
“Bernanke did not take into account the financial sector’s instability when congratulating himself on the Fed’s successful management of monetary policy (and nor were most of his fellow economists). Those who believe that an economy is intrinsically prone to shocks, on the other hand, could see the dangers.”
Newton also mentions the 2008 financial crisis “The property crash of the late 1980s and the currency crises of the late 1990s were both more abrupt than the two prior catastrophes of the post-1979 era. This is largely due to the central role that major capitalist governments’ banks play. These institutions lend significant sums of money to one another, as well as to governments, enterprises, and individuals.
“Given the advent of 24-hour and computerized trading, as well as continuous financial sector deregulation, a big financial crisis in capitalist centers as large as the United States and the United Kingdom was bound to spread quickly throughout global markets and banking systems. It was also unavoidable that monetary flows would suddenly stop flowing.”
How closely did the events of 2008 mirror previous economic crises, such as the Wall Street Crash of 1929?
According to Newton, there are certain parallels with 1929 “The most prominent of these are irresponsible speculation, credit reliance, and extremely unequal wealth distribution.
“The Wall Street Crash, on the other hand, spread more slowly over the world than its predecessor in 200708. Currency and banking crises erupted in Europe, Australia, and Latin America, but not until the 1930s or even later. Bank failures occurred in the United States in 193031, but the big banking crisis did not come until late 1932 and early 1933.”
Dr. Linda Yueh, an Oxford University and London Business School economist, adds, “Every crisis is unique, but this one resembled the Great Crash of 1929 in several ways. Both stocks in 1929 and housing in 2008 show the perils of having too much debt in asset markets.”
Daunton draws a distinction between the two crises, saying: “Overconfidence followed by collapse is a common pattern in crises, but the ones in 1929 and 2008 were marked by different fault lines and tensions. In the 1930s, the state was much smaller, which limited its ability to act, and international financial flows were negligible.
“There were also monetary policy discrepancies. Britain and America acquired monetary policy sovereignty by quitting the gold standard in 1931 and 1933. The Germans and the French, on the other hand, stuck to gold, which slowed their comeback.
“In 1929, the postwar settlement impeded international cooperation: Britain resented her debt to the US, while Germany despised having to pay war reparations. Meanwhile, primary producers have been impacted hard by the drop in food and raw material prices, as well as Europe’s move toward self-sufficiency.”
How did politicians and policymakers try to ‘solve’ the 2008 financial crisis?
According to Newton, policymakers initially responded well. “Governments did not employ public spending cuts to reduce debt, following the theories of John Maynard Keynes. Instead, there were small national reflations, which were intended to keep economic activity and employment going while also replenishing bank and corporate balance sheets.
“These packages were complemented by a significant increase in the IMF’s resources to help countries with severe deficits and offset pressures on them to cut back, which may lead to a trade downturn. These actions, taken together, averted a significant worldwide output and employment decline.
“Outside of the United States, these tactics had been largely abandoned in favor of ‘austerity,’ which entails drastic cuts in government spending. Austerity slowed national and international growth, particularly in the United Kingdom and the eurozone. It did not, however, cause a downturn, thanks in large part to China’s huge investment, which consumed 45 percent more cement between 2011 and 2013 than the United States had used in the whole twentieth century.”
Daunton goes on to say: “Quantitative easing was successful in preventing the crisis from being as severe as it was during the Great Depression. The World Trade Organization’s international institutions also played a role in averting a trade war. However, historians may point to frustrations that occurred as a result of the decision to bail out the banking sector, as well as the impact of austerity on the quality of life of residents.”
What were the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis?
In the short term, a massive bailout governments injecting billions into failing banks prevented the financial system from collapsing completely. The crash’s long-term consequences were enormous: lower wages, austerity, and severe political instability. We’re still dealing with the fallout ten years later.
What triggered the Great Recession of 2000?
Reasons and causes: The dotcom bubble burst, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and a series of accounting scandals at major U.S. firms all contributed to the economy’s relatively slight decline.
What was it that spared the United States from the Great Depression?
- The Great Crisis was a ten-year global economic depression that began in 1929 and ended in 1933.
- Although no single explanation exists for why the Great Depression occurred, most theories point to the gold standard and the Federal Reserve’s ineffective response as major factors.
- The New Deal and World War II worked together to pull the United States out of the Great Depression.
Is there going to be a recession in 2021?
Unfortunately, a worldwide economic recession in 2021 appears to be a foregone conclusion. The coronavirus has already wreaked havoc on businesses and economies around the world, and experts predict that the devastation will only get worse. Fortunately, there are methods to prepare for a downturn in the economy: live within your means.
What were three of the Great Recession’s effects?
This RFP has now been closed. The general rationale for the 30 project wins made in 2011 through early 2012 can be found in the original RFP outlined below.
The United States is now two years past the official end of the Great Recession, which lasted the longest and deepest since the 1930s. Although GDP and the stock market have risen since the recession ended in June 2009, the social and economic consequences of the downturn continue to ripple across the US economy. According to labor market data, more than 14 million Americans are unemployed, with 6.3 million of them out of work for more than six months. Another 11.3 million people are working less than they would like either part-time or looking for work but not finding it. Job growth is encouraging but sluggish, and at current rates of growth, reestablishing the pre-recession unemployment rate of 5% could take a decade or longer. Although the unprecedented number of home foreclosures experienced during the recession and its immediate aftermath has lessened, the housing market remains stagnant, with home prices hitting new lows in the first quarter of 2011. State and local budgets have seen huge gaps between revenues and expenditures as a result of the economic downturn, and stock market losses have exposed unfunded pension plans across the country. To attain balanced budgets, governments at all levels will have to undertake a mix of discretionary cuts and higher taxes, as predicted by the long-term repercussions of this recession. Public sector job losses have canceled out 40% of private sector employment increases in the two-year recovery, and government workforces are set to be under pressure for some time to come.
Given the likelihood of continued slow growth, high unemployment, low home values, and severe government fiscal limitations, the Russell Sage Foundation has opted to fund a series of studies on the social and economic consequences of the Great Recession. Long-term economic stagnation will most likely change American institutions and significantly impair many Americans’ life chances. We’re looking for studies that look at these effects across a broad spectrum of social and economic life, including, but not limited to, effects on individual aspirations and optimism about the future; health and mental health; family formation and stability, as well as children’s well-being; the viability of communities, particularly those hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis; the performance of the educational system at all levels; the incidence of crime and the performance of the criminal justice system. The Appendix demonstrates the types of topics that the Foundation is concerned about in each of these social and economic spheres. These are examples of the types of challenges the Foundation is interested in solving, although they are not meant to be exhaustive or exclusive.
In general, the Foundation will consider funding for a variety of projects, including:
- Long-term studies on the effects of the Great Recession over the next three to five years. As a result, the effects of the fiscal crisis on state budgets, for example, may take some time to manifest. A comparison of the decisions governments make in balancing their budgets, as well as the implications of those choices, may not be significant for several years after the current crisis has ended. In another area, the consequences of the recession on families may not become apparent until after families have exhausted their resources in dealing with unstable work or housing, and if there are lasting repercussions on children, these may take even longer to manifest.
- Analytic research that look at the long-term repercussions of the Great Recession across a variety of social and economic realms. An examination of how the recession affects underprivileged adolescents, for example, could look into the probable link between local variation in unemployment, school dropout, and criminal involvement. Alternatively, a study of older Americans’ labor market participation might look into the consequences of changes in pension wealth and the early receipt of Social Security benefits after a job loss.
- Innovative investigations of the Great Recession’s deeper, more subtle consequences on psychological attitudes and social norms. Will the exceptionally high rates of long-term unemployment that have characterized this recession and its aftermath, for example, result in long-term scarring and decreased aspirations? Will high rates of overdue debt and “underwater” mortgages impair financial responsibility in general and undermine default norms? Or will the need to deleverage lead to a more conservative and cautious approach to household financial decisions in the United States? To assess the subjective impact of changed financial conditions, studies of these subjective issues may require a creative combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
- Studies of how the Great Recession has affected American institutions, particularly in reaction to economic and other challenges that have arisen during the crisis and its aftermath. Universities, for example, have faced severe budget restrictions as a result of state budget cuts or private endowment losses at a time when student financial aid needs are rising. What has been the impact of universities’ responses to these pressures? To establish generalizations about institutional change, studies of institutional adaptation of topics like these may rely on case studies of specific institutions or the collecting of administrative data across institutions.
In general, we’re looking for creative research projects that go beyond simple trend analysis to look at unintended consequences of the Great Recession. Such study might use comparisons of present conditions with what is known about the results of previous recessions to make testable predictions about the current slump’s likely effects. We expect many of the funded initiatives to employ publicly available data sets, but we also understand that valid assessments of predictions regarding the effects of the Great Recession may require conducting new waves of past surveys or replicating data from other sources that give pre-recession baselines. We are happy to evaluate ideas for restricted data acquisition or collection in such instances. The Foundation’s funding will be limited to research help, data analysis expenditures, and limited release time for analyzing and writing up results in all other circumstances. We anticipate that all working papers and research briefs from projects financed under this initiative will be published (non-exclusively) on the RSF website.
The second round of funding for this endeavor is now underway. After the first round, we sponsored ten initiatives in nine of the appendix’s domains (a description of projects funded in the first round can be found here). We will consider projects from all domains in this round, but we are particularly interested in projects that address the following topics that were not addressed in the first round: changes in attitudes and norms caused by the economic downturn, effects on communities particularly hard hit by foreclosures and/or unemployment, changes in the incidence of crime linked to recessionary conditions, and effects of the fiscal crisis on state and local budgets. We’re also interested in study on the labor market’s performance in the United States throughout this extended era of high unemployment. Although there are no restrictions on the quantity of funding requests that will be considered, cost/benefit analysis will be a major factor in the evaluation of all projects. For your information, prizes accepted in the first round typically ranged from $75,000 to $250,000 for project periods ranging from one to four years.
We ask all academics interested in being a part of this program to send us a letter of inquiry of no more than three single-spaced pages explaining the research topic on the effects of the Great Recession that you would want to do. Your letter should explain and estimate the research expenditures involved, as well as outline and motivate the hypothesis concerning the effects of the Great Recession that you are interested in exploring. It should also specify out the empirical work required and the data sources to be used.
All letters of enquiry will be reviewed by the Foundation’s Advisory Committee, and detailed proposals will be solicited for the initiatives that appear to be the most promising.
Over the last decade, poverty in the suburbs has soared by more than a third. Although poverty rates in the inner city are still greater, the gap is closing. Earlier downturns mainly evaded the effects of suburban areas, but not this time.
- What happens when a community’s unemployment rate and foreclosure rate are both high? What effect will it have on housing stock, home values, fiscal capacity, out-migration, and more ephemeral issues such as social capital and social efficacy?
- What impact has the recession had on the poor’s regional distribution and concentration?
- How would a decrease in residential mobility influence a community’s social infrastructure?
From less than 3% of disposable personal income in 2005-2007 to nearly 6% of disposable income in 2010, the personal savings rate has increased. Furthermore, the total quantity of outstanding consumer credit has decreased for the first time since 1940 as a result of the present crisis.
- What has the recession’s overall impact been on personal finances, consumer spending, and consumer confidence?
- How did households cut back on their consumption? Are these solutions viable in the event that revenues do not recover?
- Have people lowered or raised their savings and retirement contributions? To stay afloat, have families taken out loans against their current investment and retirement accounts? What are the ramifications?
- Are these patterns indicating a fundamental shift in consumer and financial behavior?
For the better part of the last decade, crime rates in the United States have remained steady or even decreased marginally. According to some research, those tendencies may be in peril. While the general crime rate in New York City stays steady, the most current statistics shows that the murder rate has increased by 15% over the previous year.
- Will crime rates that have been declining or constant in the long run continue in the same path or change?
- With fewer resources and higher demands, how well will police, courts, and prison institutions be able to function?
- Will states employ early release procedures to reduce the number of people incarcerated and their costs? Is it likely that caseloads for probation and parole will vary, and if so, how will this affect technical violation rates?
- What will happen if a larger number of incarcerated people are released into economically challenged communities? What will happen to those people, their families, and their communities?
Families are likely to be affected in a wide range of ways. Job losses and unemployment, one of the most apparent characteristics of the recession, have been linked to higher stress, poorer health outcomes, decreases in children’s academic achievement and educational attainment, marriage age delays, and changes in household structure. According to recent statistics, the number of multigenerational homes increased by 12% between 2006 and 2010.
- What impact has it had on marriage, divorce, cohabitation, fertility, and family structure? Has this had a greater impact on some groups than others?
- What have been the ramifications for home labor division? Are fathers more likely than mothers to get laid off? Is it true that mothers work more when their fathers work less?
- What impact has this had on young adult children? Are more people staying at home longer because of poor career prospects? Do they need more financial and social assistance?
- What has been the impact on family function, particularly the quality of parents’ relationships, parent-child connections, and parenting?
- What impact has this had on children’s immediate results, such as academic performance, behavior, and delinquency, as well as their long-term life prospects?
States faced overall budget shortfalls of nearly $300 billion between 2009 and 2012 due to a drop in revenue and higher demand for state services. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) brought temporary relief, but it has finally come to an end.
- What policy adjustments have states implemented to overcome substantial budget deficits, given that nearly all states are suffering significant budget gaps? What are the distributional effects of policy changes at the state level?
- How will governments allocate the more constrained resources associated with diminishing tax receipts, given that health and prisons have been the fastest rising parts of state budgets over the last several decades? Which states are most likely to enact tax increases rather than spending cuts, and what effect will this have on the state’s economy?
- The financial crisis has brought to light the underfunding of pension systems across the country. What are the chances that states will follow through on promised benefits? What effect will it have on state budgets?
Thirty-five states reduced education budgets totalling roughly $8 billion in K-12 and higher education in 2010, and 31 states are seeking more cutbacks in 2011.
- What impact do budget cuts have on the delivery of public K-12 education? What impact has graduation rates, class sizes, school closures, and teacher employment and turnover had?
- What has happened to the quality of public higher education at all levels, from four-year universities to community colleges?
- Has there been a rise in the demand for a college education? Has it changed as a result of the family’s socioeconomic condition or the demography of the students?
- What has changed in terms of the net cost of a college education, and what are the implications for students from various socioeconomic backgrounds?
Between 2006 and 2009, the number of home foreclosure filings grew from from 1.2 million to over 4 million per year, with black and Hispanic areas being disproportionately affected. Home losses of this magnitude and concentration are likely to cause more community upheaval and deterioration. Home ownership is also one of the most common means of accumulating wealth in the United States, meaning more financial insecurity for millions of Americans in the short and long term.
- Which people and communities have been the most affected by foreclosures? What have been the ramifications for both those who have lost their homes and the localities that have seen the highest rates of home loss?
- Have the losses in wealth caused by home foreclosures been allocated differently across different groups?
- Have housing policies aimed at reducing home foreclosures been successful? Who has benefited the most?
Job loss is a major source of stress, and it has been linked to a variety of health effects, including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and psychiatric issues, as well as increased melancholy, anxiety, and sleep loss.
- What kinds of health and mental-health changes can be ascribed to the Great Recession’s economic uncertainty and its aftermath?
- Has there been a psychological shift in the general public’s aspirations, optimism for the future, and expectations for performance and upward mobility, particularly among the young?
- What are the health ramifications in neighborhoods that have been impacted especially hard by the recession?
- What are the anticipated ramifications of health-care and mental-health service cuts?
As the recession has set in, the number of economic migrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States has dramatically decreased, and internal migration patterns may have transformed as typical employment possibilities for migrants have decreased.
- What are the current trends in immigration and internal migration? What will the ramifications be for immigrant communities?
- What has been the impact of the collapse of the building industry on internal migration? Is there a link between changes in other industries and changes in internal migration?
- How has extended economic suffering and uncertainty influenced Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants, immigration, and the immigration debate?
- Are the lasting consequences of the recession affecting return migration patterns?
The official poverty rate rose from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009, with roughly 4 million more people living in poverty than the previous year. Since 1969, nearly every recession has resulted in considerable rises in poverty rates, with the consequences disproportionately affecting children.
- What impact has the recession had on the income and wealth of people at various levels of the income distribution? Which individuals and groups have experienced the most transformation? Which assets (for example, retirement assets, property, and investments) have been most sensitive to the downturn if diverse vehicles for wealth generation have been disproportionately impacted?
- Has the rate of poverty changed, and who is more likely to slip into or stay in poverty?
- Is the greater concentration of incomes at the top of the income distribution a result of the recession?
- Has the gradual increase in economic inequality that has marked the United States since the 1970s been aggravated, reduced, or remained unchanged?
A lengthy period of high unemployment, typified by historically high long-term unemployment rates, is expected to have far-reaching implications for the operation of the US labor market, as well as the lives of the unemployed, their families and communities, and the institutions that support them.
- How bad are the ramifications of long-term unemployment? Who are the people who are most affected? What policies and programs work best to re-employ long-term unemployed people?
- Is the size of the recession a sign of a massive reorganization of the US labor market? To what extent are structural mismatches between skill demand and supply, rather than weak demand, the causes of long-term unemployment?
- What geographical areas and localities have the highest levels of unemployment, and why? What are their chances of getting back on their feet?
During the Great Recession, American politics was extremely turbulent, with rising populist fury directed at incumbents blamed for the crisis, significant electoral swings, and new forms of political organizing and fundraising.
- In the aftermath of the recession, how are political attitudes, party affiliation, and political involvement changing?
- What role do business and government play in producing the problem and resolving it, according to Americans?
State and municipal pension liabilities are anticipated to be close to $4 trillion, while private pension account balances are down approximately $800 billion from pre-recession levels, notwithstanding the stock market recovery.
- What effect do pension losses have on pensioners’ projected retirement income? Which groups have been hurt the hardest?
- What impact does the loss of pensions and jobs have on older Americans’ retirement decisions? Is there a shift in the distribution of retirement age based on income or education?
Approximately 46% of the 14.6 million unemployed people have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer, and 31% have been jobless for 52 weeks or longer.
- How well did the social safety net in the United States perform during the recession and the subsequent period of high unemployment? How has the recession affected the need for emergency and safety-net services? How well have different programs (such as TANF, SSI, and SNAP) responded to increased demand?
- Have community nonprofits been able to address any gaps that exist? Is it possible that the impact of the recession on such NGOs has reduced their ability to respond to rising need?
- In a high-unemployment environment, what happens to welfare claimants whose time-limited benefits expire?
- What was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s impact? What will happen to state welfare programs now that the ARRA is no longer in effect?
Who profited the most from the housing crisis?
John Alfred Paulson (born December 14, 1955) is a millionaire hedge fund manager from the United States. He is the CEO of Paulson & Co., an investment management firm he founded in 1994 in New York. He’s been dubbed “one of the most well-known names in finance” and “a man who amassed one of Wall Street’s largest fortunes.”
His fame and fortune were established in 2007, when he earned nearly $4 billion and was transformed “from an obscure money manager into a financial legend” by effectively betting against the US subprime mortgage lending market using credit default swaps. Paulson made $4.9 billion in 2010. As of May 2020, Forbes’ real-time tracker projected his net worth to be $4.2 billion.