Thursday, November 5, 2009
If all of the horses are already out of the barn, fussing about how to patch the door to fill in a few cracks isn't really very helpful.
You have to go out and round up the escaped horses. Then - once you catch them - you can think about how to improve the barn.
The same is true with the economy.
The too big to fails are - by their very size and the moral hazard created by the government's actions - drawing the American economy down into a black hole.
The TBTFs - by their very size - are so powerful that they are making the playing field uneven and warping democracy.
By allowing the TBTFs - even after all of their fraud and recklessness - to profit through taxpayer bailouts, various guarantees, incentives and other perks, the government is encouraging them to loot the economy again in the future.
Letting them get so big and powerful was letting the horse out of the barn. Allowing them to stay gigantic is letting the escaped horses go free while arguing over small cracks in the barn.
Similarly, failing to claw back the secret bailouts through AIG and other channels to American and foreign banks - see this, this, this, this, this and this - is also letting the runaway horses get away.
Indeed, as derivatives and other financial experts will tell you, the government's proposals do not even effectively fix the cracks, let alone close the barn door, let alone catch the escaped horses.
For a short example of the patching-the-barn-door-approach, read this short report from McClatchy on Barney Frank's overall game plan.