Tag Archives: wall st.

The Bailouts Benefited Everyone, Not Just Bankers

From NYT: Bernie Sanders: To Rein In Wall Street, Fix the Fed

WALL STREET is still out of control. Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time.

To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions and which uses monetary policy to maintain price stability and full employment. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.

When the fed bailed out the banks, they, in essence, bailed out the most productive people. By throwing Wall St. a lifeline, the fed and congress sequestered the problem parts of the economy, allowing the healthier parts such as Web 2.0, retail, Silicon Valley, e-commerce, venture capitalism, and biotech to thrive instead of being dragged down by the ailing banking sector. That is something few understand – they think it was just bankers who got bailed out, but pretty much every productive person benefited at least indirectly from the bailout, which by 2011 finally turned a profit despite all the predictions in 2008-2009 of its failure.

Everyone wants to blame capitalism and Wall St., but pity the loser homeowner who thought it was a good idea to buy a 6,000 square-foot McMansion on $40,000 income with zero down.

Financial regulation is doomed to fail because you cannot regulate stupidity, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to suffer for the mistakes and stupidity of some, which is why bailouts have become an unavoidable part of modern capitalism. It’s like choosing the lesser of two evils: risk moral hazard or risk things getting worse?

Sanders also ignores how bank balance sheets are the healthiest they have ever been and that non-performing loans are at record lows, suggesting that banks have reformed their lending practices:

Credit scores for mortgage originations are rising:

Subprime lending has also collapsed, and mortgage debt is back to it’s long-run trend after a bubble in 2003-2008.

If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time.

While taxes did rise in 2013, it was not out of economic necessity, but rather due to gridlock and Obama’s refusal to compromise by cutting certain programs (for example, raising the Medicare eligibility and slowing increases in Social Security costs by reducing cost-of-living adjustments). The bailouts turned a profit by 2011, and by 2014 the treasury reported profits of $15 billion on TARP. Can the same be said for welfare programs like disability, Obamacare, free emergency room treatment, social security, and food stamps. I think not. Although some welfare is probably necessary to avoid disruption, it’s disingenuous for liberals to pretend to be looking out for taxpayers, yet simultaneously advocating policy that greatly adds to the deficit and produces negative long-term economic value. Welfare liberalism is reverse Darwinism: throwing more money at the losers of society while at the same time punishing the successful with higher taxes and more regulation. And then they wonder why the economy isn’t growing fast enough or not enough jobs are being created.

Liberals like Sanders think they are ‘saving’ mainstreet, looking out for our ‘best interests’ by attacking the fed, when in reality they advocate policy that would destroy wealth and punish the most successful and productive.

Related: Don’t Blame the Fed – Blame Stupid People, Liberalism, Democracy

The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression

Found this gem on Amazon that somehow eluded my attention until today, The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression

In The System Worked, Drezner, a renowned political scientist and international relations expert, contends that despite the massive scale and reverberations of this latest crisis (larger, arguably, than those that precipitated the Great Depression), the global economy has bounced back remarkably well. Examining the major resuscitation efforts by the G-20 IMF, WTO, and other institutions, he shows that, thanks to the efforts of central bankers and other policymakers, the international response was sufficiently coordinated to prevent the crisis from becoming a full-fledged depression. Yet the narrative about the failure of multilateral economic institutions persists, both because the Great Recession affected powerful nations whose governments managed their own economies poorly, and because the most influential policy analysts who write the books and articles on the crisis hail from those nations. Nevertheless, Drezner argues, while it’s true that the global economy is still fragile, these institutions survived the “stress test” of the financial crisis, and may have even become more resilient and valuable in the process.

Agree. Despite all the whining from the left about moral hazard and printing money, economic policy during the 2008 financial problem – and after – has been a resounding success. And don’t think for a second that I’m giving Obama credit for it – this is still the Bush boom because his policies (along with Bernanke and Paulson), not Obama’s, saved the economy. But not only thank the ‘four musketeers‘, thank the cognitive elite who create innovative companies like Facebook, Tesla, Uber and Snaphap, as well as the spendthrift US consumer. The evidence of America’s economic comeback is overwhelming: stocks keep making new highs, profits & earnings, exports, and consumer spending – all at record highs. Given all these positives, in retrospect, TARP was a bargain and succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. The left, including Peter Schiff, Taleb, Roubini, and Shiller all got it wrong – there was no relapse of 2008, no double dip, no bear market, no hyperinflation, no dollar collapse, an no ‘Greece-like’ collapse of the system. Even Krugman was wrong in that the sequester and cutting entitlement spending didn’t lead to a double dip recession; the economy and stock market just laughed it off. Other libs, such as Joseph Stiglitz and the vertically challenged Robert Reich intimated, incorrectly, that widening wealth inequality would lead to a crisis – wrong again. What gets lost in the partisan finger pointing is that policy makers are better at solving economic problem’s than predicting them, and Drezner writes, whether it’s TARP, QE, or the maligned but necessary bailouts an austerity in Europe, they, the global central banks, did indeed rise to the occasion.

This review is better than my own:

“If you find yourself disagreeing with Drezner, you need to take a good hard look at yourself and what you are doing with your life… this detailed, knowledgeable and cogent book is required reading for everyone in the global governance field — and anyone who wants to know how, bad though things have been since the global financial crisis, they might have been a hell of a lot worse.” –Alan Beattie, Financial Times

Agree..instead of being a liberal who whines about things like too big to fail, the fed, wealth inequality and the debt being too high, you need to take as look at your own life an ask yourself, ‘Am I projecting my own personal failings, frustrations, and cognitive shortcomings on the otherwise strong economy?’ No one forced these losers to sell their stocks at the bottom in 2008 or buy a crappy overpriced home in the exurbs in 2006, nor is it the fault of Wall St. bankers, the Fed, and Washington that millions of Americans are simply not smart enough to participate in the strong economic recovery and the post-2008 wealth creation boom. If you have a room temperature IQ or you majored in ‘stupid shit’ in college and cannot find a job with your worthless degree, tough luck. There’s always going to be winners (cognitive elite) and losers (the left side of the Bell Curve); makers (the cognitive elite, the creative class) and takers (the growing underclass that Charles Murray writes about in Coming Apart and The Bell Curve).

The events of 2008 could have been worse, and the left wanted things to get worse to, first, get Obama elected and, second, destroy the wealth of the rich. That’s why you have the Schiff-tards allying with Barrack Sanders in attacking Wall St., web 2.0, and the fed. Their approach is different (the welfare left wants higher taxes and more regulation, the other left wants high interest rates and to somehow eliminate the national debt), but the end result is the same: the destruction of wealth that mainly hurts the 1%. If the fed were to come out and heed Schiff’s advice to raise rates to 4%, the stock and bond market would be annihilated, and although things would probably recover, there is no need raise rates when virtually every economic indicator is signaling low inflation. It’s just bad policy that would hurt millions of Americans who have equity in stock and real estate. Prematurely raising interest rates would also push the economy into a recession, hurting business owners and causing all sorts of problems. Despite being a proponent of Reaganomics, my only criticism is Volker’s unnecessary and economically deleterious crusade on inflation, which pushed the economy into a severe recession.