Last week Fannie and Freddie were nationalized, this week Lehman Bros. goes bankrupt and Merrill Lynch is bought out for half its value. And now the news media at least is starting to notice that something is wrong. NPR anchors sounded genuinely worried Monday morning, and CNN gave breaking news coverage to the Lehman/Merrill story. News stories now openly mention the comparison to the bank panic of 1907 and the great depression.
One thing that strikes me is that back in the 1930's probably half the U.S. population were farmers, industry and manufacturing were located here, and we had large oil reserves. Now our food is raised and distributed by giant agribusinesses, we import most of our manufactured goods, and import a large amount of our oil. I think we're a lot less prepared for hard times now than we were in the 30's.