We can’t afford this any longer. We need to focus on four reforms that don’t require new bureaucracies to implement.
1) If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big and needs to be broken up. We can’t risk another trillion-dollar bailout.
2) If your bank’s deposits are federally insured by U.S. taxpayers, you can’t do any proprietary trading with those deposits — period.
3) Derivatives have to be traded on transparent exchanges where we can see if another A.I.G. is building up enormous risk.
4) Finally, an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they’re taking money from. The public needs to know.
Capitalism and free markets are the best engines for generating growth and relieving poverty — provided they are balanced with meaningful transparency, regulation and oversight. We lost that balance in the last decade. If we don’t get it back — and there is now a tidal wave of money resisting that — we will have another crisis. And, if that happens, the cry for justice could turn ugly. Free advice to the financial services industry: Stick to being bulls. Stop being pigs.
I can stand behind the first three, but the fourth sounds good but it is unreal. Let’s make the first three happen.