I think what Cutts was really saying is that it's going to take time/effort to regain lost rankings from these new algo's (panda/penguin). Most spammers are in for the quick buck and he's saying those people have a LOT of work to do. New site is better for spammers. Advice for spammers? Interesting.
I have smaller sites for the most part. I've seen a recovery. The way I'm approaching this is that each algo (peng/panda) is like a test. Did I do enough to pass the test and get back? If not, I will continue tweaking if I have the patience or persistence. Or I will decide to walk away. The way I feel is that my site isn't solid enough at the time panda/penguin ran. It doesn't mean game over. It means I haven't done enough. It seems the updates are one to two months from Google. I'm not expecting changes to ranking to happen in the meantime. It's only on those algo dates that I will get discouraged. Like I said I had one bounce back which has me more optimistic. My site isn't massive and thus didn't require 1000 hours of work. I go back to Cutts saying it's only an algo and anyone can bounce back. I think if they keep it consistent we will all voice the various clues and be able to make the right tweaks and be back in the game eventually.