Not everyone suffered because of the Great Recession. According to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal, billionaire Warren Buffett made a 40 percent return on investments his firm Berkshire Hathaway made in troubled blue chip companies five years ago -- a kind of private sector, TARP-like bailout plan. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, and candy maker Mars, Inc. subsidiary Wrigley were among the beneficiaries of Buffett's largess.
"As he says, when everyone's heading for the exits, that's when you head for your checkbook, and it's worked out great," says Allan Sloan, senior editor-at-large of Fortune Magazine. "You have to know what you're doing -- which Buffett does -- and you have to be willing to take a loss -- which Buffett is willing to do, because he's a grown up."