James Pethokoukis cites Global Insight's economic forecast, which assumes Congress does nothing:

Although the U.S. financial crisis is bringing sweeping changes to Wall Street, parallels to the Great Depression are overblown. The U.S. economy is far more resilient today, thanks to income support policies, federal deposit insurance to prevent banking panics, and flexible exchange rates. From 1929 to 1933, real GDP contracted 27%, prices fell 25%, and the unemployment rate climbed from 3% to about 25%. Even in our pessimistic alternative forecast, the peak-to-trough decline in real GDP is just 1.5% and the unemployment rate peaks below 7.5%.

Pethokoukis's analysis:

Spending $700 billion (which is really $2.5 trillion since you are borrowing the money) to stop a recessionno worse that what we saw in 1990-91 (one quarter of -3 percent growth and one quarter of -2 percent growth) or even 2001 (one quarter of -1.4 percent growth)seems nutsy. If they want to get this thing passed, Paulson and Bernanke better be more explicit about the risks.

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