How bad are things? Well, in some ways its not quite as bad as the Great Depression. Unemployment now is officially around 7%, although including hidden unemployment its probably more like 14%. In the Great Depression, unemployment had touched 25%.
However, in other ways, economists are beginning to point out that it's much worse. Why? Well, for one things are moving faster than anyone imagined possible. Volcker points out that the global fall in industrial production is unprecedented and breaks even the worst doomsday predictions. George Soros points out that there is no end in sight to the financial crisis. The market capitalization of the banking sector now hovers at about what the government has pumped in.
The trouble is that admit that they don't really know what will work. At this point, everyone is trying their best and hoping a lot.