And you thought we had the fattest banking cats. Not so.
Last month Bloomberg.com stated in an editorial that the big banks enjoy a massive “too big to fail” subsidy created by Dodd-Frank. Other banks will lend to banks with a TBTF designation at a lower rate than they would otherwise because they know that a TBTF bank is ultimately backstopped by the taxpayer. Incredibly the subsidy constitutes nearly all of the profitability of the banking sector.
Too big to fail and too big to jail are essentially the same sort of crap, with different smells. In both phenomena recklessness is rewarded and broader society is made to pay in obvious and not so obvious ways.
The mega-banks are “mega” because the government helped make them that way. Instead of letting the big banks fail in 2008, Hank Paulson swept in and backstopped them, bailed them out, even though the market was trying to correct for years of stupidity both from Wall Street and Washington. The universe wanted to break up the cartel, but the government would not let it.
The HSBC money laundering settlement is a classic example of this. The LIBOR scandal is probably another great example.
Some thoughts from the always interesting, sometimes unduly inflammatory, often prescient Max Keiser, on making markets.
“Sometimes even the president of the United States must stand naked” – Bob Dylan
Well, we’ve crossed another threshold folks.