Market Overview

It’s Not the 1930s Again --- It's Not Even Close


From Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein:

"Since the financial turmoil began, many analysts, investors and pundits have fretted about a repeat of the Great Depression. However, it’s important to put things in perspective. Real GDP fell for four consecutive years (and by a total of more than 25%) between 1929 and 1933. Unemployment reached 25% (see chart above). Nothing today even comes close. GDP is now rising and we expect unemployment has peaked.

The reason the Great Depression became so great was because government policies were outrageously bad. The Federal Reserve, which was less than two decades old at the time, made huge mistakes, and allowed the money supply to decline by a third between 1929 and 1933. At the same time, President Herbert Hoover increased the top marginal income tax rate from 25% to 63% in 1932 – a more than 50% reduction in the incentive to work and invest.

The odds of repeating anything like the Great Depression are low and shrinking by the day. It’s not the 1930s, it’s not even close."

MP: In terms of the monthly unemployment rate, we haven't even come close yet to the peak of 10.8% in November and December of 1982, and the average annual rate of 9.3% for 2009 is less than the 9.7% average in 1982 by almost a full half point, and a full point less than the 12-month average of the 10.3% unemployment rate between mid-1982 and mid-1983 (data here).

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.


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