Our friends Jason Trennert and Nick Bohnsack at Strategas Research Partners suggest that the talk of a new Great Depression has been prevalent during many major periods of economic weakness.  We thought we’d share the historical headlines from various newspapers they uncovered.  And as shocking as the discovery of Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion ponzi scheme seems today, such revelations, unfortunately, also seem par for the course during tough times.  

The Question in Capital: Recession or Depression?
Depression. It is a word to send shivers down the spine
of anyone over 50 years old. It evokes dark images of
bread lines and bankruptcies, dust bowls and suicides.
It is also a word being used by responsible public
figures, generally liberals, for the first time since the
nineteen thirties to describe the state of the nation’s
New York Times, 3/7/75

The worry of Administration
critics is that, by risking a long and
deep United States recession, the
danger of a world depression will
be intensified.
New York Times, 11/6/74

For the first time in a generation, some serious
people are talking about the danger of a world
slump or depression. The Economist of
London, for example, describes the Labor
Government of Harold Wilson as “facing a
deteriorating economic situation even grimmer
than faced the last minority Labor Government
in 1929-31–as big a slump, but with very
serious inflation.”
New York Times, 6/23/74

Global Depression Could Result From Oil Pricing,
Analyst Says
Unless the sharply higher prices recently imposed by the oil producing
countries are quickly cut to a level that the oil consuming
countries can afford to pay, the end result could
be a global depression, according to Walter J. Levy, one of
the world’s leading energy economists.
New York Times, 1/17/74

Economists Calm, but Market Hints Recession
The stock market has bled as though it were
forecasting a major recession or even a depression.
New York Times, 11/28/73

Cites Federal Aid Programs; President
Concedes Depth of Slump

President Reagan acknowledged today that
some parts of the country were experiencing a
“near depression” but said that people were
much better off than during the Great
Depression “when unemployment was total
destitution.” …
Defending the federal social insurance and
income support programs of which he has
often been critical, Reagan said that he
understands the “pain of unemployment” but
contended that the unemployed today don’t
suffer the “total destitution” of the Depression
because of unemployment compensation and
the incomes of working spouses.
Washington Post, 5/11/1982

Trucking’s Great Shakeout
In the last three years, the
trucking industry has been
through its most severe shakeout
since the Great Depression.
More than 72 freight haulers
that were in business in 1978
had shut down by late last year,
taking more than $2.2 billion, or
16 percent, of the industry’s
revenues with them.
New York Times, 12/13/1983

Democrats Asking Help for Farmers
The days of the Great Depression and Herbert Hoover are
being recalled with increasing frequency as Democrats in
Congress seek to come in first in the race to do the most
for the farmer. After saying they were tired of hearing
the Reagan Administration’s ”Hooverisms” about ”relief
being just around the corner,” a group of farm state
Democrats in the Senate introduced a resolution this
week demanding that President Reagan act immediately
to save more farmers from bankruptcy.
New York Times, 3/21/1982

Liquor industry analysts report that for first
time since Great Depression economic
downturn is noticeably affecting
consumption of liquor, beer and wine. Note
many drinkers are reducing their intake or
switching to less expensive drinks. Impact
trade journal reports consumption slowdown
has helped produce 6.9% drop in gallons of
distilled spirits shipped in first nine months
of ’82 compared with ’81 period. Forecasts
little if any growth in spirits for next decade.
Also reports beer shipments slipped by 0.2%
for period and that wine posted scant 0.1%
New York Times, 1/19/1983

US banking industry ends its worst year since
Great Depression, with 79 failures and FDIC’s
list of so-called problem banks at record 817;
troubles persist despite continued recovery of
economy; many analysts, however, believe that
banking system has improved considerably in
recent months, largely owing to easing of third world
debt crisis…
New York Times, 12/27/1984