With the U.S. economy in free-fall, a lot of forecasters have been digging deep into the history books, looking for a guideposts of what to expect. Often, they’ve turned to the chapter on the 1930s.
“Clearly people have made comparisons to the Great Depression,” said former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
“It’s not a very good comparison,” he cautioned.
Bernanke, who is a student of the Great Depression, says that crisis was triggered by a financial meltdown, and made worse by bad policy choices, including the decision by his Fed predecessors to raise interest rates.
Perhaps most importantly, the Depression dragged on for a dozen years. While Bernanke doesn’t expect to rebound from the current crisis in the next six months or so, he doesn’t see it stretching out indefinitely, either.