Have you ever had a bronchial infection? Man, can that be rough: a hacking, coughing up of greenish phlegm that only gets worse and worse. Finally you visit a doctor who prescribes Amoxicillin with the stern admonition to continue to take the entire week's worth of the antibiotic, even after you begin to feel better. "Don't want to leave a remnant of the bacteria to survive, now strengthened and immune to the medication."
"But Doc," you argue, "I don't have much money and that stuff costs a lot, and I'd have to put it on my credit card. Can't you just gimme a couple days worth?"
"Being hospitalized with pneumonia is a whole lot more expensive, and the outcome is far less certain" the physician replies.
A severe recession can be like that: requiring a heavy dose of government intervention. The "Great Recession" we experienced in the last years of the Bush administration required, but did not get from either the Bush or the Obama administrations, an adequately heavy dose of government intervention in the form of federal economic stimulus. What we got was too weak to do much good, and for too brief a period, which is why the country continues to linger near the edge of the abyss.
Start with a few fundamentals at least most can likely agree on.
One fundamental is that it's economically better to have folks who are gainfully employed and paying taxes than it is to have folks who are unemployed, and drawing benefits from various government coffers.
One is building the pot, the other is taking from the pot. One is buying goods and services from the business community, the other is hunkering down, buying little. As the consumer pool shrinks, the businesses that would ordinarily employ workers to serve customers are now forced to lay workers off, thus further exacerbating the downward spiral. As more and more are drawing more and more from the government, and as fewer and fewer are contributing, the fewer resources a government has with which to provide those services.
And never forget that even when no large contracts are involved, the governments at all levels are also customers for the various business communities. Their employees buy coffee on the way to their jobs, they purchase gasoline for their cars, in order to get to their jobs, they purchase lunches, and on and on and on.