Bruce Bartlett concisely describes why government stimulus was necessary to battle this recession. His bottom line:
The main differences between today's crisis and the Great Depression is that the deflationary pressure is less than a third of what it was in the 1930s and policymakers today reacted much more swiftly and more appropriately than they did after 1929. Those who think the government should have done nothing risked turning the current downturn into another Great Depression. Thankfully, their advice was ignored.