It's funny. For Angie and I, our economic situation is whole lot better than it was one or two years ago, so with the exception of my continuing unemployement, things seem to be alright.
That's not the point I want to make, though. I read an article from the WSJ online's opinion section about Obama's rhetoric on the economic downturn. I've copied a large chunk below because the statistics are pretty clear.
The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.
Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That's comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.
Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn't compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn't come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s.
You can read the complete article here.
Now, before you comment, don't get caught up in some sort of an I-hate-Obama/I-love-Obama debate. Let's talk about the numbers.