During a hearing before a Congressional subcommittee on the continuing economic crisis, a witness from Oklahoma testified that "neither has the money to buy the product of the other. Hence we have overproduction and underconsumption at the same time and in the same country" (Manchester, 1973, p. 33). One historian summarized the causes of the Great Depression in this fashion:
But it was not only the average American citizen who suffered from the overexpansion of credit. The nation as a whole indulged in a form of reckless financing that began with the end of the First World War. There was a structure of debt in the United States--federal, state, and municipal--of some thirty-three billion dollars (and corporate and individual debts of one hundred billion). These public and private debts "demanded expanding markets and world prosperity for successful carrying. A relatively small reduction in buying power, or backsliding of prices, could send tremors along the whole length of this mountain chain" (Wechter, 1948, p. 6).
Kirkendall, Richard S. The United States: 1929-1945. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Installment buying became a way of life for the common American at the time as he was victimized by the super salesman.
And, of course, once the downward spiral began, one thing followed hard upon another until the United States was caught up in the greatest economic depression known in man's history. The measures which were taken to stop the economic slide did nothing to halt the economic crisis. In fact, the measures in large part had the opposite effect.
Ellis, Edward Robb. (1970). A Nation In Torment. New York: Coward-McCann.