“Banking System is Safe”

That’s what President Joe Biden (D) claims after the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.

Americans can rest assured that our banking system is safe. Your deposits are safe. Let me also assure you that we will not stop at this. We will do whatever is needed.

But that’s true only if regulators do their job and enforce the rules in place—as they chose not to do in the runup to SVB’s failure—and if risks are well-known and left to the responsibility of the risk-takers in a free market rather than laid off to us taxpayers to make those taking the risks whole.

That last just transfers the risks to us and leaves the risk-takers entirely free of risk. That last, also, is what concerns Senator Tim Scott (R, SC), even though Biden claims that taxpayers won’t cover the losses. Yes, we will. SVB doesn’t have enough book value, even were its liquidation not done at fire sale prices, to cover the billions of investor—venture capitalists, startups, bond holdings, and on and on—losses that will occur. Scott’s concerns:

We just heard recently that they’re going to really have the greatest form of corporate cronyism that we’ve seen in a very long time. They’re going to insure all the deposits, even the ones over the $250,000 limit, which means that the most sophisticated investors are now going to have the insulation of the federal government. That is problematic. It sends a very negative statement to the marketplace….

Scott’s concerns are well-founded. Here’s what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, and FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in their Sunday joint statement

Today we are taking decisive actions to protect the US economy…providing access to credit to households and businesses in a manner that promotes strong and sustainable economic growth.

That bailout is destructive of our banking system and of our economy at large.

I’ll have more on that last tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *