24 August 2012

Try This On For Size


The N.Y. Times (the New York freaking Times!) defends the big banks:
BANKS aren’t always popular even in the best of times, but the anger of recent years is unprecedented. The anger, while understandable, has fueled the misguided idea that we should break up the nation’s largest banks.

The argument is simple and sound-bite ready: In the years before the crisis, greedy bankers used their political muscle to grow from small, specialized banks into giant, all-purpose financial institutions. This transformation led to the financial crisis because banks became too big to manage and too big to fail. If we break them back up, we will eliminate the risk of future crises.

The problem is that every part of this argument is based on a fallacy.
Here’s another argument to consider:  We should revoke the corporate charter of the big banks because every last one of them has committed massive amounts of fraud, thus trampling over innocent people’s property rights.  Or, to state it another way, the mega-bank corporations should be broken up as a punishment for having broken the law.

Now, demonstrating that the government is serious about defending property rights by punishing the banksters for fraud will not ever eliminate future occurrences of fraud.  But I have to think that it will reduce them substantially.

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