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Byline: David A. Sylvester
Oct. 1--For most of this year, the big economic debate was whether the United States would follow Silicon Valley and fall into a recession.
The debate just ended. With the sharp drop in the stock market during the week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, economists largely agree that the national economy has stopped growing and will enter a recession.
Now the question becomes: How long and how deep?
The answer: as long as it takes to correct the excesses of the 1990s, the longest expansion in U.S. history.
The national recession of 2001 is the first to be led by the nation's technology industries. Silicon Valley and its tech industries were the prime beneficiaries of the 1990s economic boom -- especially during the dot-com and telecommunications craze of 1999-2000. Afterward, the valley began suffering before the rest of the nation, and now it's expected to suffer longer.
Recessions are like a bad headache the morning after a wild party. But some economists say recessions play a vital role in the economy: They straighten out excesses such as dot-com craziness or inflated oil prices. They're painful, especially for …