An otherwise interesting Washington Post front-pager on “What Went Wrong” claims the current situation “has erupted into the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression.” On the contrary, that honor surely goes to 1980-82, with 1973-75 as a close runner-up.
This may indeed be the biggest postwar financial crisis, but that is a very different thing.
The biggest postwar financial crisis so far was the S&L collapse of the late 1980s, when nearly 3000 financial institutions were closed. But the impact of the S&L debacle on the real economy was minor at best (the economy grew by 2.9% a year during that “crisis”). The stock market crash of 1987 inspired many hysterical predictions but no recession at all.
An economic crisis implies a deep and prolonged drop in real output and employment, not just another routine recession. To describe current conditions as a worse economic crisis than 1980-82 is fanciful nonsense.