Great Depression Redux?

I'm still having a hard time believing that the U.S. (rather, the world) is undergoing the worst depression since at least the '80s.  I guess part of the problem is that all the stories of the Great Depression, all those stupid kid books they make you read in elementary school, are about poor farmers' children and one of the most dramatic parts of that era, the Dust Bowl.  Considering that the U.S. job market is now primarily service-based, it's harder to see these obvious signs--droughts and famine have little meaning when we import most of our crops.  And it's still hard for me to pay attention to price fluctuations when I never have to buy anything except clothes, which are all cheap right now.

People don't hear the stories of the middle class dudes who were largely unaffected by the Depression.  Why is everything about extremes?

On another note, you'd think by now the Republicans would have noticed that, every time a recession has not been major, it has been because the President chose to interfere in the economy--and I'm including a war under the heading of interference.  The problem with Bush's whole "preemptive strike" is that it took place during a budget surplus, so instead of stimulating a failing economy it simply screwed a healthy one.  And there's always the question of whether or not we needed World War II to get out of the Great Depression: FDR's plans were doing something, but was it enough?

All in all, people should probably think before they criticize.  I seem to vaguely remember that history has this tendency to repeat itself.

EDIT 02/21/09: AARGH

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