Simon Johnson's new book, 13 Bankers, has just come out, an instructive primer on the serious flaws in the U.S. banking system. Johnson and coauthor James Kwak explain how "too big to fail" is a dangerously erroneous concept, because:
(1) The market does NOT efficiently, effectively, regulate itself, witness the Great Depression
of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Both economic disasters occurred during
largely deregulated eras.
(2) Since it's U.S. taxpayers bailing out the banks when their high-risk practices bring them to
bankruptcy's brink, the market is NOT providing any solutions; indeed, this policy amounts to taxation without representation. (Did anybody actually agree to this, other than the bankers and politicians?)
Simon Johnson has more credentials AND savvy than anyone else around the Beltway when
it comes to economics. He was the IMF's Chief Economist, is an economist at MIT's Sloan School of Management, an author and lecturer.
13 Bankers should be required reading for Congress, the White House, and all and sundry in
Washington, D.C. As Mr. Johnson has said during frequent TV appearances, the lessons of history, ignored, inevitably return to haunt and harm. I'll reiterate it:
George Santayana must be spinning in his grave.