How bad is the Great Recession? Housing prices have slid more sharply than the Great Depression, and the federal deficit free fall is without precedent. That's bad. But in just about every other category, the Great Depression was must worse. That's good! What else? Paul Swartz, an International Economics analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, presents the recession, in context, in graphs (in a PDF).
The following graphs, from the appendix of Swartz's report, compare this recession to the Great Depression and the pre-/post-war recession averages:
I think the graphs speak for the themselves, but here are some
micro-conclusions. In reverse order: 1) US Trade (ie the sum of imports
and exports) is historically terrible, but we're nowhere close to Great
Depression depths; 2) Real home price and federal deficit collapses are
historically disastrous, although in the Great Depression, you can see
how long it took for the US to begin serious deficit spending; 3)
Inflation is still historically low.
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