dToo Big To Fail - Road to the Middle Class - by Christopher Chantrill
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Obama Fails the Test "We're Owed and They Aren't"

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Too Big To Fail

by Christopher Chantrill
March 20, 2008 at 6:38 pm

WHAT DO we do about institutions, particularly financial institutions, that are “too big to fail?”

In the current credit crunch that becomes a big deal. The government runs around worrying about the bankers. It seems like we let the little guy go to the wall, foreclose on his mortgage, and send him out into the street.

Not one penny, you might say, for the struggling homeowner, but billions for the bankers.

Last weekend, the Federal Reserve bailed out failing investment bank Bear Stearns.

Actually, the Fed didn’t quite “bail out” Bear Stearns. They gave it to JP Morgan Chase for a couple of hundred million. That means that Bear’s stockholders got two cents on the dollar. I don’t think that’s exactly a bailout. It looks to me more like a haircut.

You can tell that the Fed probably did the right thing by reading what Larry Kudlow, an old Bear hand, had to say about it. He wonders if Bear Stearns really had to go down in flames. After noting that the Fed could have let Bear Stearns in at the discount window and telling us that he used to work at Bear, he gives us this:

All of this kind of makes me wonder whether Bear Stearns wasn’t some kind of sacrificial lamb. Did government policy makers hope to convince the public that a big Wall Street firm could indeed fail? Or wouldn’t be bailed out? Listen, they were buried, not bailed out.

The fact is, Bear shareholders got creamed with the $2 per share purchase price. The shareholders include all the men and women who’ve worked there for years, and who own roughly one-third of the firm’s equity.

After the Bear Stearns creaming, the word was that Lehman Brothers might be next. But the Lehman bears got a talking to from the Fed: Keep lending to Lehman, the Fed said. You could translate the message, if you like: If you chaps keep on down this road, the Fed seemed to say, we could end up giving all you chaps a haircut too.

So maybe the Fed isn’t crazy when it makes a sacrificial lamb out of Bear Stearns. Maybe it is sending a message to the sharks: we are loading up with harpoons here at the Fed.

Maybe the Fed is crazy like a fox.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill