I have yet to see a convincing case that the financial reform legislation in Congress accomplishes such a task. Go read the whole (short) thing.
And, as was the case in the 2008 difficulties, one can either view this primarily as a liquidity problem, for which we simply need the central banks to step in boldly to arrest the jitters, or as a solvency problem, in which case the policy decision is how to allocate the unavoidable capital losses among bank owners, bank creditors, and the government so as to minimize collateral damage to innocent bystanders. The fundamentals facing Greece suggest there is an overwhelming solvency component to the current problems. And the policy response so far seems to be choosing to allocate 100% of losses to the European and U.S. taxpayers.
It is not the role of the ECB, IMF, or Federal Reserve to bail out banks. These measures are profoundly unpopular with voters in countries such as Germany and the United States. I think it is incumbent on the architects of these measures to communicate what is the structural defect in banking regulation that made such intervention necessary, and what reforms have been implemented to ensure that such measures won't be needed again.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Professor James Hamilton writing at Econbrowser: