Yes, I typed that correctly. Measured in 2008 dollars, GDP is $14.4 trillion per year, or $3.61 trillion per quarter. Based on the annual percentage rates they publicized, we know that Goldman is predicting $3.56 trillion for 2008 Q4, $3.54 trillion for 2009 Q1 and $3.53 trillion for 2009 Q2 (there may be a bit of rounding error here). The cumulative difference between that forecast and zero growth is merely $200 billion, or about $700 per person.
I am considered to be the optimistic one, but even I explained last month that GDP could fall more than this in the short term. Our economy can recover quickly from an event like that. The 1930s were entirely different: GDP fell a lot more and the recovery was terribly long. But apparently Goldman and others think that today it is worth spending trillions of taxpayer dollars (thousands of dollars per person) merely to avoid the economy's losing $700 per person.
What's more disturbing is that Goldman is both feeding at the Treasury trough and has been successful at promoting an exaggerated state of alarm.