Comparisons to the 1930s: Nonsense and Nitwittery
GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan -- To those who lived through the Great Depression -- people now in their 80s and 90s -- today's economic conditions don't come close to rivaling the distress of the Great Depression.
"When I see that on the TV, I say to myself, 'You don't know a thing,'" said Flint resident Peggie Chisolm, 92, laughing.Worries mounted that the United States could be on the verge of the next depression a few financial institutions collapsed and the stock market took a dive.
But how plausible is it that economic conditions could return to the days of the 1930s, when "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" could be heard on the radio and shantytowns sprung up across the country?
Local economist Mark J. Perry says that any such comparisons are "complete nitwittery and utter nonsense." "Most of the people complaining still have their iPod, their computer and two cars in the garage," said Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint. "It's not based on any factual evidence. We're so spoiled that it really takes distorted thinking to compare the Great Depression to today."