Thursday, August 4, 2016

Big Banks Taking on Less Risk -- Why is That Good?

It's been US economic policy since 2009 to regulate banks to force banks to "take on less risk."  That is an absurd idea.

Banks should take on risk -- lots of it.  That is what fuels economic growth.  If banks fail, then their shareholders should suffer.  That's how markets are supposed to work.

The false narrative is the idea that bank failures involve systemic risk to the economy -- whatever that means.  Business failures should be handle routinely by bankruptcy.  That's what should have happened in 2008.  But it didn't. 

Instead, the bailout crowd took over.  And look at the result:  an anemic American economy.  That won't change as long as US economic policy is to reduce risk. 

In fact, you won't even get reduced risk.  Running a moribund bank to satisfy regulators just guarantees that banks will become increasing smaller and less relevant.  That's what has happened.

Meanwhile the price paid for this ridiculous policy is an economy that punishes people who have the fewest opportunities and resources.  The bureaucrats and the rich are thriving.  Everyone else is suffering.  That's the future as well, until such a thing becomes politically unsustainable.

The most chaotic banking regime in American history occurred during the "wildcat banking" days of the latter half of the nineteenth century.  That is also the period of the most rapid economic growth in American history (in fact, in world history).  There was no Fed, no regulators, no nothing.  But, the average American flourished.  That was the period that created the great American middle class.

This is the period that destroys the great American middle class.

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