The End of Prosperity?

A noted historian looks at parallels between this financial crisis and 1929 and shows what must be done to avoid Depression 2.0

Corbis

Chicago, 1931

Congress's initial rejection of the Bush Administration's $700 billion bailout plan calls to mind an unhappy precedent. Back in 1930, the Senate passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which raised duties on some 20,000 imported goods. Historians define this as one of the critical steps that led to the Great Depression — a tipping point when the world realized that partisan self-interest had trumped global leadership on Capitol Hill.

It's fair to ask whether America's lawmakers could do it again. The bursting of the debt-fueled property bubble and the crippling...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!