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Why don't we turn the banks into regulated public utilities?

A simple plan from Simon Johnson. From Bloomberg's review of 13 Banks:

Crisis buffs won’t miss much if they skip ahead to the last chapter, where the authors debunk arguments that curbing the size of banks is too simplistic. A more complex approach, they say, would invite “regulatory arbitrage, such as reshuffling where assets are parked.”

They propose that no financial institution should be allowed to control or have an ownership interest in assets worth more than 4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, or roughly $570 billion in assets today. A lower limit should be imposed on investment banks -- effectively 2 percent of GDP, or roughly $285 billion, they say.

If hard caps sound unreasonable, consider this: These ceilings would affect only six banks, the authors say: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

“Saying that we cannot break up our largest banks is saying that our economic futures depend on these six companies,” they say. “That thought should frighten us into action.”

Though Jamie Dimon won’t like this (any more than John D. Rockefeller did), incremental regulatory changes and populist rhetoric about “banksters” are getting us nowhere. It’s time for practical solutions. This might be a place to start.

Pretty centrist, and even that's off the table for the Obama adminstration (showing, as if further proof were needed, that these "savvy businessmen" own Obama).

A more sustainable solution would be to create more "boring banks," where people can park their money, for not much return, in order to do boring things like financing their houses, their student loans, and their cars, and where bankster assholes like Jamie Dimon can't gamble our savings money on the ponies, take our tax money in a bailout, and then award himself a bonus -- again with our money. Boring banks, in other words, would become like regulated public utilities. An even more sustainable solution would be state banks, like the bank of North Dakota.

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