This economy vs. the Great Depression

The news media is awash in doom and gloom, but when you look at the GDP (gross domestic product) figures, today’s economy is nowhere near as bad as that of the Great Depression. GDP this year is expected to decline about 7 percent. In the Depression it sank more than 25 percent. This isn’t even the worst since the Depression–a mistake the media keeps repeating. That honor goes to the post-WWII recession that saw GDP sink 13 percent.

The biggest problem is that people look at the stock market and the banking and investment industry and assume they represent the economy as a whole. But Wall Street is just one part of the economy, not the whole enchilada. There are still a lot of private companies and small businesses that haven’t been as irresponsible as the whiz-kids on the southern tip of Manhattan.

So instead of conjuring up the haloed myths of the Roosevelt Administration and using the current problems to stampede the country into accepting bank nationalization and giant spending bills, perhaps the politicians in Washington D.C. ought to study how we emerged from the post-WWII recession. That was by electing a strong-willed president in 1952 who forced Congress to hold the line on on social and military programs and created the Interstate program. The results were impressive. In eight years time personal income rose 48 percent, savings went up 37 percent, GDP rose 45 percent and inflation remained tame. Eisenhower was his name. Odd, isn’t it, that so many intellectuals considered him a “do-nothing” president?