"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."
Rahm Emmanuel supposedly said this though I have yet to find it in a primary source. I have been accused of downplaying the scope of the current economic situation. I do think it very serious. People are losing their jobs, credit appears seized up, businesses are in trouble. To combat deflation the Fed is dropping so much money on the economy that I fear we will have serious inflation next year.
I do believe however, that many people have an incentive to talk up the problem and make it seem worse. If you are an auto executive at the Big 3 or CEO of a bank or investment house, it helps to claim that it is all not your fault, that larger macroeconomic factors are to blame.
If you believe that government is the solution to problems, it makes sense to talk up a crisis.
If you are the press, crisis is more exciting and sells more newspapers than covering a city council committee hearing on street names.
So while I do not down play the extent of the current situation, I merely note that many of those running around screaming THE SKY IS FALLING are also those who stand to benefit from when Congress passes the Sky Stabilization Stimulus Package of 2009.