18 December 2009

bernanke who?

IMF rules and how they would describe the US scenario of last year

If I had to pick somebody who "ought to be" as influential as Bernanke has been over the past year over monetary policy and regulations therein, it'd be Johnson. It's not so much that I agree completely with him (I'm more in leaning toward a negative interest rate scenario, or at least a penalty on reserves, to deal with deflationary pressures than a direct bailout of major insolvent banks and compulsory bailout of major banks generally, for example the case of Chase-Morgan as compared to the AIG-Goldman-Citi triumvirate of woe and pity), but I certainly find some coherence in his ideas that I do not find in the government's responses.

I have yet to figure out why the banking bailout system was simply a massive transfer to a few specific banks rather than a general loosing of the monetary spigot instead. But even worse, it shouldn't have been too hard to make these loans with an appropriate level of supervision and requirements as to their use. When we go to get money from a bank, they ask all kinds of questions for good reasons. It would seem appropriate that we make the same requirements if loans are to be made to banks themselves.

The public furor over the payment of bonuses and assorted PR debacles of the banking industry I think is woefully misplaced, but it does raise the sensible question of why exactly was this money given to them in the first place if they can afford to pay such things. One should think that an unsuccessful company would not be in a position of these payments to employees (who would then depart for a company that will pay them what they are owed or worth). In other words, once we took such a large stake in these companies, the payment of bonuses was the least of our concerns because it would insure that there will be at least a cadre of quality employees who are well-incentivized to their jobs. What we "ought to" have asked is well-incentivized to do what?
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