Every major financial publication will have their own list of what they consider as the top financial stories of the year, so we’ve decided to do the same thing here. The top 5 stories will be based on articles written on this blog in 2011, so if it happened but it wasn’t covered here, then it just didn’t touch our consciousness, although that doesn’t mean it might not have been important. These aren’t in order either; let’s begin:

1. Racism Fueled the Housing Crisis. For decades there has been talk of the principle of redlining and so many in the financial industry have said it doesn’t happen. Oh yeah, it happens, and when I wrote about this last January some information was just coming to light. It got even more interesting this month when Bank of America, one of my favorite companies to beat up on, agreed to pay $335 million for discriminatory lending practices; not enough if you ask me.

2. Occupy Wallstreet et al, because it grew exponentially to the point where even here in the Syracuse NY area we have a small band of warriors that have joined the cause. My take on it was that it’s unfocused because they don’t really want anyone leading it, it’s causing problems for regular working people that they supposedly support by blocking them from getting to work, and they’re not protesting who I believe really caused the major financial issues we’re still dealing with.

3. National Health Insurance is still a major big deal, as different states have either approved the passing of the bill or said parts of it are unconstitutional. It’s on its way to the Supreme Court where the new battles are whether some justices should recuse themselves or not because of previous positions on the subject. Since there’s no law saying any of them have to it’s expected that none of them will, which means, based on recent history, it’ll probably be overturned. This will be a major story for a third year in a row in 2012.

4. Medicare became a political issue. Medicare’s always been problematic but this year the divide in Congress made Medicare a major political ping pong ball that could have derailed Republicans. That’s because of the Ryan plan and almost universal hatred by senior citizens, one of the biggest voting blocks in the country because they actually still go to the polls to vote. Younger people are missing how all of this affects them as well because right now we all pay a share of our income into the pool and it’ll either be reduced, which will leave less for many young people today, or go up to help the pool sustain itself. I’m sorry, but I don’t think having to work until I’m 75, if I make it that far, is really all that fair.

5. The instability of the stock market. What a frightening year! Overall it will end higher than it started, which is a major accomplishment, even though I still question how it’s faring so well, especially after the volatile 3nd quarter, worries about what’s going on in overseas markets, the continuing housing problem, continuing employment issues (although unemployment finally dropped back below 9%, accurate or not), the reduction of gas prices and the rising price of food.

I wonder what we have in store for 2012; that is, if the Mayans aren’t correct. 🙂

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