Christina Romer today delivered a major address to the Brookings Institution, in which she laid out the intellectual foundation for Obama's aggressive expansion of government's role in the economy. I have only read through the text of her address once, but that was enough to know that she is using it to justify all that Obama has done to date, by asserting that it is being driven by the lessons to be learned from the Great Depression. Two things stand out: 1) she claims that fiscal stimulus in the Depression was not effective because it was too timid and did not last long enough; and 2) monetary policy was effective mainly because it caused a huge devaluation of the dollar. Needless to say, her interpretation of the lessons to be learned from the Great Depression are not universally shared. For example, Amity Shlaes wrote a book on the Great Depression, "The Forgotten Man," which draws very different conclusions, if not opposite conclusions. My own understanding of the Depression is that fiscal policies were very harmful, and I would be loathe to recommend as a solution to our current problems any policies that resulted in a signficant devaluation of the dollar.
In any event, read Romer's paper for yourself. It is amazing to me that she could come to such clear conclusions about such an historically complex event as the Great Depression, and then use those conclusions to justify the most aggressive government expansion and intervention in the economy in modern times.