The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

A Historical Perspective

05/24/2010

So, just how great was The Great Recession? Take a look at this table from Independent Strategy Group (in billions of dollars):

My father is a World War II veteran, who landed on Omaha Beach in France. It was the defining experience of his life, which he re-lives every day of his life. Yet, separating the economics from emotions, which is admittedly difficult, that event was only twice as significant as The Great Recession, as a percentage of GDP. If you add the virtually simultaneous War on Terror to the economic cost of The Great Recession, then World War II was only 19% worse than what we have recently experienced.

Complicating matters, while we entered WWII and the War on Terror with a small budget surplus, we entered the War on Terror with a huge existing national debt. We’re now in a deep hole and will need another post-WWII recovery to get out of it. Greece is a lesson for us.

So, how great was The Great Recession? You figure it out!

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