Tuesday, October 11, 2011

99-percenters right to protest crony capitalist bankers

    While the 99-percent movement is a bit ridiculous at times, it also makes some valid points. One point in that a few large banks are essentially destroying this country.
    Make no mistake, the government encouraged these banks to make risky loans to marginal borrowers. When they found out they could make a dollar they went at it full tilt. Much of the blame for our current problems belongs with the belief that every citizen just has to own their own home, a mantra still being chanted by some in Washington.
    But the real problem is the same one we had several years ago: Banks which are too big to fail.
    If the economy is functioning normally there will be bank failures from to time. And some bondholders might get their fingers burned just a bit. But in the end, no problem.
    But in today's economy we have a few large banks that can seek profits without regard to risk, because they know they are too big to fail. The government gives them all kinds of sweetheart deals, including unlimited money at one-half percent interest, in order to fatten their bottom line. Don't you think you could make money if you had unlimited funds at half-a-percent interest?
    So the government and the federal reserve are shoveling taxpayer money into these big banks, which now are recording record profits. And since they are profitable they are paying their top executives lots of money, which is fine when they are earning the profits on their on, but not so great when the government is essentially just handing them the treasury.
    The solution is the same today as it was four years ago. Force these big banks to get smaller.
    All we need to do is tax banks based on their size and charge bigger banks higher FDIC premiums. Leave the small banks alone, but hit the bigger ones with a progressively larger tax. These banks are run by businessmen who will soon see the benefit of breaking up their banks into smaller firms -- the kind of banks that helped build this country.
    And if a few of them fail, so what? We will have created an economy where banks are free to be successful -- or to fail. For the rest of us, life will go on.

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