The Financial Reform Bill, which I’ve nicknamed The Let’s Not Allow Our Largest Donors To Embarrass Us Again Act of 2010, is not a total failure, but it fails miserably to address perhaps the worst part of the crisis – Too Big To Fail.
The bill doesn’t really address the Hexopoly of Too Big To Fail Banks. I’m also calling these The Systemic Six.
The big six banks (Goldie, Morgan, JP, B of A, Wells and Citi) will be limited in their hedge fund investments and trading activity, but not very limited. The interconnectedness, however, is unchanged, and this is the very crux of the matter.
Citi was saved to prevent it from dragging Wells down, Wachovia, Merrill, Morgan were all “assisted” to prevent Goldman and JPMorgan Chase from going down, and on and on. We were told that the dominoes were already falling after Lehman and so emergency measures (bailouts) were necessary.
And for arguments sake, let’s say this was true at the time or was the best option to prevent the Depression. OK, fine. But so why doesn’t the new legislation address that and seek a change for the fact that these six banks (and others) can cause such a massive chain reaction? It’s a shocking gap in the provisions of the bill.
And don’t even get me started on the Fannie and Freddie omission (consider those cans kicked down the road). If Finance Reform were a wedding, Fannie and Freddie would be placed at the farthest table from the action, over by the kitchen doors like the ugly cousins of the banks that they truly are.
Oh well, maybe we’ll get it right after the next economic evisceration. For now, The Hexopoly or The Systemic Six are here to stay.