Image: Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett carefully worded his opposition to the $600 billion quantitative easing program, saying in November, "We've got a lot of stimulus going on."
updated 12/31/2010 9:58:01 AM ET 2010-12-31T14:58:01

It's been a, well, interesting year when it comes to all things financial. The stock market has rebounded, but America's economy is everything but back on its feet. There has been plenty of speculation on where things are and where they're headed in regards to finance. Looking back at 2010, here are some of the more memorable money quotes.

"We want our money back." –President Barack Obama
It was an unpopular move to bail out Wall Street, and now President Barack Obama is trying to take a tough stance with financial institutions. In January 2010, he vowed to get the money back that was used to prop up struggling banks and financial firms that were criticized for paying out fat bonuses while many Americans are struggling financially. "My commitment is to recover every single dime the American people are owed. My determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people," Obama said. Let's hope 2011 brings a brighter financial picture for everyone.

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"We've got a lot of stimulus going on." -Warren Buffett
High unemployment, record deficits and a plummeting real estate market leave most of America wondering: what are we supposed to do to fix this mess? Who better to look to for advice than Warren Buffett, one of the country's most famous billionaire businessmen. In a November radio interview, Buffett carefully worded his opposition to the $600 billion quantitative easing program, saying that time will tell how it all plays out. Other than pointing out the economic dangers of the government stimulus, Buffett was not openly condemning the Federal Reserve's move. Even Warren Buffett is looking toward 2011 to see where our economy is headed — so much for an easy answer from a successful businessman.

"With housing markets still weak, high levels of mortgage distress may well persist for some time to come." -Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
If you own a home, you've probably been cringing, watching the mortgage crisis unfold. You're not alone: our Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is feeling the pain as he's trying to keep the economy stable - to make matters worse, October 2010 brought an investigation into home foreclosure practices in all 50 states. At a conference in Arlington, Va., this fall, Bernanke stated that 20 percent of homeowners owe more than their properties are worth, and another 33 percent have an equity cushion of 10 percent or less. That means that more than half the country's homeowners have a shaky bottom line when it comes to their mortgages - and there's little hope for recovery anytime soon, according to Bernanke. Memorable money quotes of 2009

"The recession is over." -Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
Finally, someone with some good news on the economy, right? Before you rejoice, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan predicts that unemployment will stay high for some time to come. In an interview in February of 2010, Greenspan defended some of his policies preceding the deep stock market dive in 2008, admitting "we made mistakes." Like Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan is non-committal in his predictions for a recovery of our economy in 2011, showing that even the experts have to wait and see these days.

"My brand alone is worth $5 billion." -Donald Trump
Wishing doesn't make it so, even for Donald Trump: his estimated net worth is closer to $2 billion dollars today. With his successful television show, "The Apprentice", and real estate investments, you would think Trump has his hands full, but rumors of late have him thinking of running for president. Time will tell if this is just talk or hubris on Trump's part, but until then, Trump is sitting pretty.

The bottom line
So what do all these quotes say about money in 2010? If nothing else, the president, financial regulators and business magnates alike agree: 2010 was a rough year — even Donald Trump's numbers are sobering. We'll have to wait and see what 2011 will bring. Maybe the value of our brand can bail us out — ever wonder what yours is worth? Top 7 biggest bank failures 10 tips for the successful long-term investor Rules that Warren Buffett lives by

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Explainer: The top 10 business stories of 2010

  • Image: BP CEO Tony Hayward surveys gulf spill repair work

    In 2010, the economy rebounded fitfully from the Great Recession — starting strong, wobbling at midyear but showing enough vigor by year's end to quell fears of a second recession. Yet Americans hardly felt relief under the weight of high unemployment, which began the year at 9.7 percent and is now 9.8 percent.

    An oil spill devastated the economy and environment along the Gulf Coast and hammered energy giant BP's stock price and reputation.

    China muscled past Japan to become the world's No. 2 economy, a reminder that the global economic order is shifting and America's supremacy is diminishing.

    It was a year of job shortages and swollen budget deficits that disheartened Americans and caused deep losses for incumbent Democrats on Election Day. The Federal Reserve tried with scant success to jolt the economy with record-low interest rates.

    The struggling economy was voted the top business story of the year by U.S. newspaper editors surveyed by The Associated Press. The oil spill in the Gulf came in second, followed by China's economic rise.

  • 1. Economy struggles

    Image: Unemployment brochures are seen on display at the employment training facility, JobTrain, in Menlo Park, Calif.,

    Climbing out of the deepest recession since the 1930s, the economy grows at a healthy rate in the January-March quarter. Still, the gain comes mainly from companies refilling stockpiles they had let shrink during the recession. The economy can't sustain the pace. The lingering effects of the recession slow growth.

    The benefits of an $814 billion government stimulus program fade. Consumers cut spending in favor of building savings and slashing debt. Businesses hesitate to hire. Cities and states lay off workers. Growth slows through spring and summer.

    Unemployment stays chronically high. In May, the number of people unemployed for at least six months hits 6.8 million — a record 46 percent of all the unemployed.

    Pointing to the deficits, Congress resists backing more spending to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve seeks to fill the void by announcing it will buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds to try to further lower interest rates, lift stocks and coax consumers to spend.

    As the year closes, the economy makes broad gains. Factories produce more. Consumers — the backbone of the economy — return to the malls. Congress passes $858 billion in tax cuts and aid to the long-term unemployed. Yet more than 15 million Americans are still unemployed. Economists say a full economic recovery remains years away.

  • 2. Gulf oil spill

    Image: Plaquemines Parish coastal zone director P.J. Hahn lifts his boot out of thick beached oil at Queen Bess Island.

    An explosion at a rig used by BP kills 11 workers and sends crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill devastates the fishing and tourism industries along the Gulf Coast and causes environmental damage that may last for decades. BP sets up a $20 billion fund to compensate fishermen, restaurateurs and others whose livelihoods were damaged.

    The oil giant still faces civil charges and a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and lawsuits from hundreds of individuals and businesses. BP's stock market value shrinks by more than $100 billion after the April 20 disaster before bouncing about halfway back.

  • 3. China's rise

    Image: Workers install scaffolding at a construction site as a Chinese national flag flies near by in central Beijing.

    China passes Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. The World Bank says it could surpass the United States by 2020. China's gross domestic product is spread out over 1.3 billion people — amounting to about $3,600 per person. That compares with GDP in the U.S. of about $42,000 per person. In Japan, it's about $38,000 per person. China's thirst for raw materials and other products helps the rest of the world recover from the recession. Still, the U.S. and Europe complain that China gives its exporters an unfair competitive edge by keeping its currency artificially low.

  • 4. Real estate crisis

    Image: Home for sale

    Housing remains depressed despite super-low mortgage rates. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dips to 4.17 percent in November, the lowest in decades. But home sales and prices sink further. Nearly one in four homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, making it all but impossible for them to sell their home and buy another.

    An estimated 1 million households lose their homes to foreclosure, even though the pace slows after evidence that lenders mishandled foreclosure documents. Some did so by hiring "robo-signers" to sign paperwork without checking their accuracy.

  • 5. Toyota recall

    Image: Toyota Master Service Technician Mike Blomberg inspects a gas pedal assembly.

    Toyota's reputation for making high-quality cars is tarnished after the Japanese automaker recalls 10 million vehicles for sudden acceleration and other problems. Toyota faces hundreds of lawsuits alleging that some models can speed up suddenly, causing crashes, injuries and deaths. Toyota blames driver error, faulty floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals for the unintended acceleration. The uproar damages its business. Toyota's U.S. sales rise just 0.2 percent through November in a year when the industry's overall sales climb more than 11 percent.

  • 6. GM's comeback

    Image: GM headquarters

    General Motors stock begins trading again. It signals the rebirth of a corporate icon that fell into bankruptcy and required a $50 billion bailout from taxpayers. GM uses some proceeds from its November initial public offering to repay a portion of its bailout. (Washington still holds about a third of GM's stock.) GM's recovery helps rejuvenate the industry. Sales of cars and light trucks rise 11 percent through November compared with the same period in 2009. Shoppers who had put off replacing their old cars return to showrooms.

  • 7. Financial overhaul

    Image: Barack Obama, Christina Romer, Timothy Geithner, Barney Frank, Paul Volcker

    Congress passes the biggest rewrite of financial rules since the 1930s. The law targets the risky banking practices and lax oversight that led to the 2008 financial crisis. The law creates an agency to protect consumers from predatory loans and other abuses, empowers regulators to shut down big firms that threaten the entire system and shines more light into markets that have eluded oversight. Republican critics say the law goes too far, imposing burdensome rules that will restrict lending to consumers and small businesses.

  • 8. European bailouts

    Image: Athenians walks behind a board showing exchange rates at a foreign currency exchange shop in Athens on Wednesday.

    Greece and Ireland require emergency bailouts, raising fears that debt problems will spread and destabilize global markets. European governments and the International Monetary Fund agree to a $145 billion rescue of Greece in May and a $90 billion bailout of Ireland in November. The bailouts require both countries to slash spending, triggering protests by workers. Investors fear that debt troubles will spread to Spain, Portugal and other countries, weaken the European Union and threaten the future of the euro as its common currency.

  • 9. 500 million Facebook users

    Image: Mark Zuckerberg

    Facebook tops the 500-million-user mark. It expands its dominance of social media and further transforms how the world communicates. If it were a country, Facebook would be the world's third-largest. Facebook tightens its privacy settings after criticism that personal information is being disseminated without users' knowledge or permission. Founder Mark Zuckerberg is named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" and is the subject of a high-profile movie about Facebook's creation.

  • 10. iPad mania

    Image: Customer uses an Apple iPad
    AP file

    Apple Inc. unveils the iPad, bringing "tablet" computing into the mainstream and eroding laptop sales. Apple is expected to sell more than 13 million iPads this year. The iPads sell about twice as fast as iPhones did after their 2007 introduction. The price of Apple stock rockets more than 50 percent in 2010. Competitors scramble to try to catch up. They include the Dell Streak, BlackBerry PlayBook, the Samsung Galaxy Tag and HP Slate.


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