The Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org) published an excellent paper that visually (using charts) compares the current recession to previous down cycles including the Great Depression. Here are some of the more striking results:
In spite of the recent rally, credit spreads remain wide relative to previous cycles:
The world trade has come off the cliff. Of course this is not a fair comparison, given that globalization is a more recent phenomenon.
The housing price move relative to the great depression is stunning in it's appreciation as much as the collapse:
This chart shows just how severe the government spending vs. tax receipts has been relative to the Great Depression. Supposedly the idea now is not to repeat the mistakes of the Great Depression and immediately push through the massive stimulus. But at what cost? And what happens when the stimulus spending ends?