Because they’re too big to fail? Because government bureaucrats are jealous of success?
Spiegel Online International‘s Martin Hesse and Christoph Pauly are reporting that the EU actually is considering just such a thought:
EU Commissioner Michel Barnier has asked experts to examine the possibility of splitting up major European banks to avoid future bailouts at taxpayers’ expense.
Certainly, the EU (and others making the same “argument”) couch the move in suitably plaintive terms:
Many banks are so big that no country can afford to allow them to fail. This is why the government bailed out a number of financial companies starting in 2008, a move that allowed major banks like Deutsche Bank to grow even larger.
Yeah, that worked out well, didn’t it? Aside from the growth possibilities for the governments’ favored few, how’s the recovery such bailouts were supposed to facilitate working out?
Then, Germany’s Monopolies Commission head, Daniel Zimmer, had this:
Taking a more-of-the-same approach in the treatment of major banks is not an option. First of all, in contrast to 2008, many countries no longer have the resources to bail out banks. Second, taxpayers are no longer willing to foot the bill for the financial industry’s mistakes.
Zimmer, though, is arguing for government mandating the structure of a bank to facilitate its government-ordered breakup in an economic crisis. But he’s not listening to his own words. Countries (including the US) don’t have the resources for bailouts, and taxpayers don’t want to foot the bill for any more bailouts.
Nor should they have to. The government interventions into the market place in the US in the ’30s and since 2008 and the EU’s intervention since 2008 only prolonged the crises they were intended to alleviate. This has cost the taxpayers far more than the bailouts themselves in lost jobs, lost incomes, higher personal costs (when they had any jobs/income at all with which to pay them—most especially in the ’30s and with an inflation time bomb ticking down from the US’ monetary “easing”) and from that, lost revenues for the respective governments.
And never mind the morality of protecting failure by not allowing a free market to punish it suitably.
Here’s a thought (are you listening, Barack?). Work with me on this, it’s kinda conservative. How about avoiding future bailouts of major banks by…not bailing them out?