CBO: predicts "slow recovery in 2010", non-disastrous recession *without a stimulus*
On January 8, 2009, Robert Sunshine, Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office, offered "The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2009 to 2019" (PDF link, via this) in testimony before Congress. While the situation described sounds bleak, it's far from disastrous. In fact, they suggest that - without having to enact a stimulus - we'd have a "slow recovery in 2010".
So, while we'd go through some pain for a year or two, we'd come out of OK and without having to spend around a trillion dollars. Why not just grit our teeth for the next couple of years, perhaps taking a few relatively minor actions in order to help cushion the downtime?
Not only that, but - still not taking the stimulus plan into account - they say:
CBO anticipates that the current recession, which started in December 2007, will last until the second half of 2009, making it the longest recession since World War II. (The longest such recessions otherwise, the 1973–1974 and 1981–1982 recessions, both lasted 16 months. If the current recession were to continue beyond midyear, it would last at least 19 months.) It could also be the deepest recession during the postwar period: By CBO’s estimates, economic output over the next two years will average 6.8 percent below its potential - that is, the level of output that would be produced if the economy’s resources were fully employed (see Figure 1). This ecession, however, may not result in the highest unemployment rate. That rate, in CBO’s forecast, rises to 9.2 percent by early 2010 (up from a low of 4.4 percent at the end of 2006) but is still below the 10.8 percent rate seen near the end of the 1981–1982 recession.