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Has the Growth of the Financial Sector Harmed the Economy?

A new study by the Kaufmann Foundation purports that the growth of the financial sector in the United States in recent decades has signficant economic costs over and above those costs of the current recession.

The first problem, according to the study, is that the complexity of financial instruments has cannibalized employees who are otherwise the types of people who start businesses based on innovation:

The financial sector, which includes lending, stock brokerage, complex securities and insurance, among many other services, derives enormous profits from collateralized debt obligations. These new products require such sophisticated engineering that the industry now focuses its recruiting on new master’s- and doctoral-level graduates of science, engineering, math and physics, and pays them starting wages that are five times or more what they would have earned had they remained in their own fields.

“Because these new hires are often the very individuals who otherwise would have comprised the most robust pool of prospective founders of high-growth companies, the financial services industry’s steady rise has had a cannibalizing effect on entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy,” said Paul Kedrosky, Kauffman Foundation senior fellow and one of the paper’s authors. “Excessive financialization exacerbated and distorted the flow of capital in the economy, potentially suppressing entrepreneurship by drawing away entrepreneurial talent.”

The second problem, claim the authors, is that an excess of capital leads to less robust businesses getting funding, leading to a weaker economy overall:

“While the rate of entrepreneurship fell and then flattened over the past two decades, financialization also likely affected the caliber of startups,” said Dane Stangler, Kauffman research manager and co-author of the paper. “An excessively dominant financial sector may have made it easier for weaker (or potentially weaker) companies to obtain financing, thus helping to maintain that steady rate of entrepreneurship but possibly contributing to the declining quality of newly established businesses.”

On the bright side, the authors note that the financial sector is unlikely to continue its rate of growth, which could lead to overall economic benefits.

The full study can be found here.

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About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    the industry now focuses its recruiting on new master’s- and doctoral-level graduates of science, engineering, math and physics, and pays them starting wages that are five times or more what they would have earned had they remained in their own fields

    I’ll wait for the rebuttal from drew, but this seems obviously true to some point, but I suspect confuses corrolation with causation. Which came first? Or what comes next? No more finance jobs for people with math/science backgrounds, so they earn five times less for a still-rigorous course of study?

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  2. ponce says:

    Having a large, powerful cabal of moneychangers with veto power in Washington D.C. taking a cut of every single economic transaction they can get their slimy hands on is hurting our economy?

    What a surprise!

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  3. EJ says:

    There very well might be some truth to this. I would guess though that this has a lot to do with the financial bubble. Bubbles by definition are a misspricing of assets and therefore a misalocation of productive resources occurs into that area. The reason why engineers moved into finance was because the salaries inticed them to do so*. This shouldn;t be interpreted as bad in of itself. If finance jobs are more productive, then engineers should move over into it. However, as seen by the bubble popping, they were not as a whole. So this could just be another symptom of the bubble and now with it popped, we may see a realocation of resources back to productive use. This is an illustration of why bubbles are damaging – resources are missalocated.

    *this is likely only partially true because as I can say from being in an engineering program myself years ago, many people enter it intending to be on the business side of it. Going to work for an investment bank is then the path to go work for venture capital later later on.

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  4. EJ says:

    * i mean housing bubble

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  5. Bob says:

    So the institutions we put in place to protect us from recession/depression actually end up hurting us, the common folk? What a world.

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  6. I’ve read some other articles lately that have noted that too many of our best and brightest have been sucked into managing wealth instead of creating it. One author noted that he’d seen this happen before and it led to the decline of the British Empire and that he was seeing it happen all over again in the US.

    Still, better to let people make free choices than dictate any solutions. I still trust the invisible hand more than central planners. If the imbalance is as great as perceived, eventually it will pay better for these young minds to think about creating wealth instead of massaging it. I’d also note that chasing the highest salary is somewhat antithetical to entrepeneurship in and of itself, so I’m not sure that just ordering these engineering and science grads to do engineering and science would yield the type of entrepreneurial results that you imply you want anyway.

    Oh, and ponce, yes, they are called Democrats. Start with Franklin Raines and Robert Rubin and work your way down.

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  7. Mercer says:

    “Oh, and ponce, yes, they are called Democrats.”

    The bailouts of Wall Street were led by Bernanke and Hank Paulson. They are not Democrats

    “.If finance jobs are more productive, then engineers should move over into it. However, as seen by the bubble popping, they were not as a whole. So this could just be another symptom of the bubble and now with it popped, we may see a realocation of resources back to productive use. ”

    Finance is more lucrative because they use leverage to make more money on their investments when they bet right. When their investments go bad they get bailed out. People who launch start ups don’t get bailed out when their companies go downhill. We now have several big banks who are to big to fail. Unless they are broken up or are denied the right to highly leveraged investments finance is still a cancer on the economy.

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  8. EJ says:

    in our recent cycle there were too many resources put into finance due to the buble, but managing wealth is not useless – yon cant say it in necessarily better for an engineer to be working in engineering. Finance companies are the mechanisms that allocate financial capital towrds the most productive uses. Thats the point of the stock and bond markets and also banks. This process working well means that economic growth will ocur. The problem here in recent years was prices were not represenative of real value for a period of time. Its not that financial services are bad in of themselves – it was that these was something systemically out of whack.

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  9. Dave Schuler says:

    I agree that a financial sector significantly larger than needed for a healthy economy (a subject I’ve written about at some length at my place), particularly in the United States, weakens the general economy. There’s a reason in addition to those mentioned that this may be so. The guarantees implied and explicit of the sector made by the federal government renders it less risky than it otherwise might be and this attracts investment away from other sectors to the financial sector.

    IMO the same is true of the healthcare sector. Government underwriting of the sector to the tune of three-fifths or more makes the sector simultaneously wealthier and less risky than other sectors, attracting investment away from those sectors.

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  10. EJ says:

    “Finance is more lucrative because they use leverage to make more money on their investments when they bet right. When their investments go bad they get bailed out. ”

    Then stop bailing people out and they will take losses when they fail.

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  11. Ben Wolf says:

    The irony here is the current economic situation was described in detail by none other than Karl Marx inDas Kapital.

    In what he called “late-stage” capitalism, reckless financial speculation would increasingly crowd out productive investment. He theorized the accumulation of capital would eventually outpace the market’s ability to provide sound places to invest at a high return, so risky finance would become increasingly attractive.

    Weird, innit?

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  12. Mercer, bailouts started before Bernanake and Paulson. That’s merely the most egregious, and Obama is on baord and then some. And I see you conveniently did not address Franklin Raines and friends. Or Robert Rubin and friends. Typical attempt to … look there’s Elvis!

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  13. Mercer says:

    ” I see you conveniently did not address Franklin Raines and friends. ”

    I did not address Raines, etc because I see both parties catering to Wall Street. It would take a very long post to list all the politicians, starting with Bush Jr, who have given favors to Wall Street.

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  14. ponce says:

    “Oh, and ponce, yes, they are called Democrats. ”

    Charles, this has little to do with political parties.

    We’re talking about a criminal gang that bribes politicians and corrupts our criminal justice system while demanding a cut of just about any financial transaction that takes place…anywhere.

    Wall Street is America’s equivalent of the drug gangs that have turned Mexico into a hellhole.

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  15. Actually, I largely agree. Both parties are corrupt and vie for the opportunity to enrich their own gangs. I kind of regretted saying it, but felt it was important to note that it isn’t just Republicans.

    Sounds like an argument for smaller government to me.

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  16. An Interested Party says:

    The sun rising in the morning would probably sound like an argument for smaller government to you…

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  17. As it would the need for another government entitlement program for you. Hey this mindless projection stuff is pretty easy.

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  18. An Interested Party says:

    No mindless projection at all, actually…I do not go on and on and on about the need for government entitlement programs the way you do about smaller government…

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  19. steve says:

    “Government underwriting of the sector to the tune of three-fifths or more makes the sector simultaneously wealthier and less risky than other sectors, attracting investment away from those sectors.”

    Where government is involved in 100% of healthcare it costs less.

    Steve

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  20. Drew says:

    I suppose I should go read the report, but why waste time from a great golf/family vacation in Arizona?

    My initial reaction is that this is ludicrous on its face. Both from the standpoint of the difficulty (read: impossibility) in designing and conducting such a “study” worth more than the paper its printed on; and from 20 years experience working with entrepreneurs.

    1. Yes, there was a time when “quants” (mostly mathematicians and physics guys BTW, not really engineers) went into the derivatives business, but now firms are looking for music majors and such. Why? The relatively plain vanilla math modeling has run its course, and derivatives firms are looking for very exotic, and nuanced patterns in their models. They think arts majors might bring those insights. (So the music business will now be harmed, right??)

    2. We have partnered (ie bought their companies and helped them get to the next level) with a number of engineer/entrepreneurs over the years. I know of not one who has expressed one iota of interest in the Street or lending. (Or private equity for that matter.) For the most part they are doing what they are doing because it fits their talent, temperment and interests. Most entrepreneurs are not destined to be investment bankers – M&A, sales or trading, or insurance or stock brokers. In fact, in one businesses we owned one of the owners was a 30 year old CalTech engineer (with Silicon Valley friends) who decided to – sitting down? – design plastic injection molding dies instead of going into finance. He did it very well, and did very well financially.

    3. The standard line is “private equity is the hardest job in America to get.” Its tiny, and hardly a siphon from the engineering or entrepreneur pool. Similarly, the derivatives business is too tiny to be a big drain. M&A? I know very few science or math trained people. Lending? Similarly, I’m one of the few people I know with an academic and industry background in engineering who did a tour of duty in the lending business. BTW – I think the lending, M&A and private equity businesses would do well to have MORE people with science and engineering backgrounds as it provides a great perspective in these fields other than just finance.

    The essence of the “study” is that the financial services industry has diverted a significant number of budding entrepreneurs, a notion that just seems preposterous. And how would you measure it?

    4. If you want to become absolutely stinking rich, you’d be better off starting a business than trying to become one of the few at the top of the Wall Styreet pyramid who get the headlines. I know. I make them rich. That sort of ruins the Kaufman’s basic premises.

    Are we to understand that we are losing entrepreneurs to medicine? Astronauts to Wall Street? Entreprenuers to the NBA, Hollywood or rapping? My brother in law is in the tomato business. Tomato brokers can make millions a year. I’m not aware of engineer/entrepreneurs lining up to get into agribusiness. The singular focus on financial services makes me very suspicious. At best I see this “study” as just so much bar room musing, and at worst a cheap hit piece that sounds seductive, but is about 1/4 inch deep.

    I think Dave has historically made the more salient and correct point: subsidy will incorrectly divert resources and is unwarranted and unhealthy. Be it financial services, health care, college professors etc. (Of course we’ll never hear about the latter. And notice what institution is the source of this economic dislocation, lefties.) And yes, financial services has been a beneficiary. But trying to stretch that into a decline in entrepreneurship jsut seems, as I said earlier, ludicrous.

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  21. john personna says:

    People have different views of what the financial industry is “for.” Some will claim that it is for efficient allocation of capital. That is, the person most able to pay the loan for the most prudent home purchase should get the loan. The risky person, with his eye on a flood-prone lot, should not. Or, the engineer with a workable idea should get funding, and the perpetual motion crank should not.

    The thing is, when you have a free market you can only hope that the financial industry will make those kinds of decisions. They aren’t under any obligation.

    And if the financial industry is just for making money, they may have some quite perverse incentives. There may be perfectly legal money in bad loans, for instance.

    I’d say that’s what’s missing above, in talk of side-effects of bubbles. They weren’t side-effects. In many case there were direct connections, and the Goldman Sachs of the world don’t care. They’ve moved on. They’re working up some “social media” products. Give them a call.

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  22. john personna says:

    BTW, I think it’s a good test of mental flexibility to see if you can name and acknowledge “perverse incentives” coming both out of government and out of the private sector.

    Though, in our recent housing pop, if you strictly count the trillions of dollars, the private perversity “wins.”

    Again, see the take-off of private asset backed securities around the year 2000 in this chart

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  23. tom p says:

    Go read “the Big Short” by Micheal Lewis. Very educational. So much of what happens on Wall Street (yes, it is supposed to be for the “efficient allocation of capital.”) but the reality seems to be that a large part of it is just a zero sum game.

    “I get $100,000,000 dollars by taking it from someone else.”

    And no, this is not illegal, but it is not wealth creation either. It is just wealth re-distribution, which is very bad when gov’t does it but I can’t wait to hear the arguments about why it is such a very good thing when private industry does it and how this furthers the interests of our country?

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  24. Steve Verdon says:

    This is an illustration of why bubbles are damaging – resources are missalocated.

    Pretty much, and about as shocking as discovering that water is wet, grass is green, and the sky is blue.

    The bailouts of Wall Street were led by Bernanke and Hank Paulson. They are not Democrats

    Not quite, bailouts started prior to Bernanke and Paulson. A key one I point too is the saving of Long Term Capital Management which was orchestrated by the Fed and people in the Clinton Administration. Granted it didn’t use public money, but it sent a signal: If you are big and your failure could damage the world wide financial system, we’ll save you [you being the creditors, not the share holders] somehow. Bad signal to send. A generous interpretation of the actions at the time is that they wanted to avert a financial panic and the negative impact on the economy that would be sure to follow, but to say “it was all Bush’s fault” is to close your eyes to historical facts.

    Finance is more lucrative because they use leverage to make more money on their investments when they bet right.

    I would suggest you not use words where you don’t understand their meaning. Leverage basically means borrowing money. It is not inherently a bad thing in and of itself just as bread is not a bad thing. Too much leverage (and arguably even too little) is a bad thing, like with bread (or more broadly grains) in your diet.

    When their investments go bad they get bailed out. People who launch start ups don’t get bailed out when their companies go downhill.

    Why not, they might be using “leverage”? See, you are not really familiar with the meaning of the words you are using.

    We now have several big banks who are to big to fail. Unless they are broken up or are denied the right to highly leveraged investments finance is still a cancer on the economy.

    As EJ has pointed out finance companies basically help move assets from less productive areas of the economy to more productive areas. Now a bubble can mess that process up when the price of resources become separated from their intrinsic value. For example, if a company’s assets could be sold for $20/share and the price is $200/share then there is likely a problem. People might start allocating more resources into that company/industry when in fact they shouldn’t.

    The first known bubble, the Dutch tulip mania is a good example. People were pouring resources into acquiring tulip bulbs that had little intrinsic value.

    “Finance is more lucrative because they use leverage to make more money on their investments when they bet right. When their investments go bad they get bailed out. ”

    Then stop bailing people out and they will take losses when they fail.

    I’ll take this farther than EJ. The problem with bailouts does not rest solely with fat cats on Wall Street, but also with our elected officials. And anyone who wants to assign partisan blame is a complete moron who, for the rest of our sakes, should never ever breed. In fact, I’d heartily recommend such people remove themselves from the gene pool….

    No politician, when a bubble bursts, is going to sit by and do nothing. He will act in any way he thinks will help keep people from turning on him and his party. Whether it is bailouts, additional tax cuts, more government spending, greater regulation, less regulation, or all of the above (I never said these politicians would be pushing rational policy) that is what they’ll do. And as you can see it might be contradictory in some cases.

    So in essence the politician will want to return to the status quo. In this regard all politicians tend to be conservative.

    Edit: Emphasis and bold added for those with poor reading comprehension skills.

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  25. john personna says:

    The Long Term Capital Management example is preposterous. In fact, it is so bad, it becomes a poster-boy argument for “how not to have a rational discussion.” That is, say something that is false, be corrected, and then say that same false thing again, and again, and again.

    Fact: the LTCM bailout used zero government monies.

    Fact: the LTCM bailout was not the first private bailout on Wall Street

    The LTCM bailout looks more like the private solutions of the past (The Panic of 1907) than it does later tax-payer funded bailouts.

    You want to be real, rational, and move your argument along Steve? Find the first actual example of public monies (tax dollars) put out as bailout. Chances are it’s earlier than LTCM.

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  26. john personna says:

    LOL, LTCM isn’t even on this bailout list:

    http://www.propublica.org/special/government-bailouts/

    Why? No public monies.

    The question is, can Steve V bring it back as his politically skewed favorite again, despite all this?

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  27. Steve Verdon says:

    Fact: the LTCM bailout used zero government monies.

    I noted that.

    Fact: the LTCM bailout was not the first private bailout on Wall Street

    Never claimed it was.

    So your two “facts” are already in my post. So yes, you are right rational conversation is not possible because it seems you didn’t even read my post.

    The LTCM bailout looks more like the private solutions of the past (The Panic of 1907) than it does later tax-payer funded bailouts.

    Really, the panic of 1907 was “stopped” by intervention from the Fed? Oh wait, the Fed didn’t exist yet. Hmmm, your narrative here sure is falling apart.

    You want to be real, rational, and move your argument along Steve?

    Can you actually reply to what I actually wrote instead of this complete fabrication you’ve concocted.

    Oh second thought forget it, you’ll claim that I never made the claims I did, that I’ve stolen your position and that you were right all along.

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  28. john personna says:

    So Steve thinks he’s hedged his argument.

    That’s what it is really. He makes a big deal of LTCM as pivotal, except he hedged that it wasn’t really. It wasn’t first. It wasn’t federal money.

    Really, the panic of 1907 was “stopped” by intervention from the Fed? Oh wait, the Fed didn’t exist yet. Hmmm, your narrative here sure is falling apart.

    Now, is this a tactic or stupidity?

    Surely you know of another example of a Fed bailout before LTCM?

    You should if you followed my link:

    “In the first five months of 1974 the bank lost $63.6 million. The Federal Reserve stepped in with a loan of $1.75 billion.”

    Can you actually reply…

    Back atcha, dipshit.

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  29. john personna says:

    (I think Steve’s gig is that he’s so caught up in moving the eye from Bush back to Clinton, that that’s as far as he wants to go. He’ll keep trying to make LTCM the big deal … because it was Clinton’s deal.)

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  30. Steve Verdon says:

    Now, is this a tactic or stupidity?

    Surely you know of another example of a Fed bailout before LTCM?

    The Fed is another way of referring to the Federal Reserve System. It did not exist in 1907. This is a fact, something you claim to put much faith in.

    And I never implied LTCM was the first. This is yet again another fabrication on your part. In past comments I’ve pointed to Chrysler and the Savings and Loan bailouts as well.

    Back atcha, dipshit.

    Considering you are making up a position for me, I think this is more fittingly applied to you.

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  31. john personna says:

    So you demonstrate that you aren’t reading my posts or my links?

    I was saying that I found a huge parallel to Wall Street Funding its own bailouts in the 1907 example.

    If you are hung up on the Fed, why not go as I say above to 1974 and Franklin National Bank?

    What have you actually got in LTCM that is unique, other than the Clinton connection of course …

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  32. Steve Verdon says:

    (I think Steve’s gig is that he’s so caught up in moving the eye from Bush back to Clinton, that that’s as far as he wants to go. He’ll keep trying to make LTCM the big deal … because it was Clinton’s deal.)

    I’ve been pretty damned harsh on Bush and Paulson (more here of course, that plan turned into on big “Never mind.”). I don’t think this is a partisan issue, which would be obvious if you read my initial comment, like where I wrote:

    The problem with bailouts does not rest solely with fat cats on Wall Street, but also with our elected officials. And anyone who wants to assign partisan blame is a complete moron who, for the rest of our sakes, should never ever breed. In fact, I’d heartily recommend such people remove themselves from the gene pool….

    This is a bi-partisan problem. Neither side has clean hands, and to pretend otherwise is to engage in rank partisanship.

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  33. john personna says:

    “This is a bi-partisan problem. Neither side has clean hands, and to pretend otherwise is to engage in rank partisanship.”

    OK fine.

    So what is actually unique about LTCM?

    Why not use Franklin National Bank as an earlier example on the road to doom?

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  34. Steve Verdon says:

    So you demonstrate that you aren’t reading my posts or my links?

    Its pretty hard to keep reading when you are clearly making up positions for me. But, I have read your posts. And you keep failing at reading mine. I referenced Chrysler and the S&L bailouts…so clearly I can’t have an issue with “just the Fed.” In the LTCM case they were the principle government actor though.

    My issue is that such an action increases both moral hazard and adverse selection. I know you think this is part of some grand scheme of mine, but it is also a view shared by the GAO.

    11. Did the Federal Reserve’s intervention create new incentives for other large financial institutions to take huge financial market risks in the future?

    Any type of intervention creates the potential for increased moral hazard; however, the long-term implications of FRBNY’s involvement in the recapitalization are unknown. Although the FRBNY stressed that its actions were dictated by the state of worldwide financial markets at that time, its actions raised concerns among some industry officials about moral hazard. Some industry officials said that FRBNY’s involvement in the rescue, however benign, would encourage large financial institutions to assume more risk, in the belief that the Federal Reserve would intervene on their behalf. According to FRBNY officials, it is unlikely LTCM’s creditors would have been able to work together to avoid the rapid liquidation of the Fund if FRBNY officials had not intervened. Thus, FRBNY’s intervention probably affected the outcome in this case and, over time, such actions could increase moral hazard and potentially undermine the effectiveness of market discipline.

    12. Did the Federal Reserve’s intervention in the rescue of LTCM create unacceptable risks to the federal deposit insurance system or expose American taxpayers to a threat of future hedge fund bailouts?

    Although no federal dollars were involved in the recapitalization of LTCM, the Federal Reserve’s involvement has raised concerns among some that the “too big to fail” doctrine has been expanded to include hedge funds. Federal Reserve officials have testified that its facilitation of the recapitalization of LTCM was not an expansion of “too big to fail”13 and had the private-sector recapitalization not come together, LTCM would have been allowed to fail. However, if companies believe that the federal safety net has been expanded, it may encourage more risky business practices. Based on the LTCM experience, if problems surface during periods of market turmoil, regulators may decide that some form of federal
    intervention, albeit nonfinancial, may once again be necessary.

    The comments by the GAO back in February of 2000 look rather prescient.

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  35. Steve Verdon says:

    Why not use Franklin National Bank as an earlier example on the road to doom?

    I would argue it is indeed one of the cobblestones. In fact, every example on your list is a cobblestone. The more we intervene, the more we’ll likely have to intervene in the future. Look at the graphic in your link, the bailouts are getting bigger. Coincidence? Maybe, but I think not.

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  36. john personna says:

    I haven’t made up any positions for you Steve.

    I’ve just taken you to task for the LTCM example. It was not a government bailout. It was not first.

    In fact, it represents a rule or pattern that should have been continued. It was good, not bad.

    We should have stuck with Wall Street funding its own bailouts, or taken the failures into receivership.

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  37. john personna says:

    (I know that there was a popular storyline that “LTCM was first, then came Paulson’s bailouts in the same pattern.” That was a false storyline. The Paulson bailouts were not in the LTCM pattern.)

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  38. john personna says:

    (Oh, another false storyline was “Since the government bailed out LTCM, that created moral hazard and led to the next failure.” That one fails for the same reasons. LTCM was not a public bailout. It was a result of the Fed tough-talking Wall Street into fixing its own mess. And again, there had been other earlier public bailouts, such as Franklin National Bank.)

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  39. Steve Verdon says:

    Oh, another false storyline was “Since the government bailed out LTCM, that created moral hazard and led to the next failure.”

    The GAO disagrees with you. While the government was not putting public dollars at risk they were indeed the primary mover behind that bailout. And like I said, while that bailout didn’t directly lead to public dollars being put at risk…look at the graphic. Public dollars have been put at risk and I think the LTCM bailout played a role.

    And again, there had been other earlier public bailouts, such as Franklin National Bank.

    Yes, and the trend has been upwards.

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  40. john personna says:

    I really don’t get this “primary mover” stuff.

    What did they actually do, besides jaw-boning?

    “And like I said, while that bailout didn’t directly lead to public dollars being put at risk…look at the graphic. Public dollars have been put at risk and I think the LTCM bailout played a role.”

    That’s funny, because again, LTCM isn’t on that graphic, for the reasons I’ve been drumming.

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  41. Drew says:

    I don’t know why you went berserk, jp, at Steve V’s invocation of LTCM. Its pretty simple. LTCM was a major intervention in modern times (not the paleozoic or mesozoic eras, or 1907) by government officials to prop up the financial system. That bastion of conservative thought (snicker) – NPR – had a rather interesting two part expose on the subject. Most sober people point toward it as a defining moment in the perception of “Wall Street” and the “Too Big to Fail” pardigm.

    Interesting, your defense of Clinton era policies and events, you bein’ all independant an sech………

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  42. john personna says:

    I see focus on LTCM itself as political.

    It would be a little strange if I had to give that a free pass, because to call it out would … itself be political?

    LTCM was most interesting for its failure:

    In the summer of 1997, Taleb predicted that hedge funds like Long Term Capital Management were headed for trouble, because they did not understand this notion of fat tails. Just a year later, L.T.C.M. sold an extraordinary number of options, because its computer models told it that the markets ought to be calming down. And what happened? The Russian government defaulted on its bonds; the markets went crazy; and in a matter of weeks L.T.C.M. was finished.

    But a private bailout, strong-armed by the government, was a much better solution to that than what came later.

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  43. john personna says:

    Again, note that LTCM bailout is not even on the “government bailouts” list.

    Call me “political” for noting that? No.

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  44. Steve Verdon says:

    What did they actually do, besides jaw-boning?

    Read the f–king report John. When the NYFRB calls you don’t tell them to piss off if you are in the finance industry especially when you have merger proposals before them and other pending business.

    But a private bailout, strong-armed by the government, was a much better solution to that than what came later.

    Your own words.

    I don’t know why you went berserk, jp….

    Because it doesn’t fit with his world view.

    See if somebody says. “Bush was horrible blah blah blah,” JP is AWOL. Somebody says, “Yeah, that was a bad move under Bush, but we can see similar moves under Clinton so maybe it isn’t as simple as Right/Left blah blah blah,” JP freaks the f–k out and runs around throwing a hissy fit about the responders partisan biases even though there is documented evidence that the responder has been critical of Bush as well.

    JP claims to be “independent” as if that grants some sort of sanctified status that he is merely “speaking truth”, but in reality a careful reading suggests that he has his biases…he’s just a bit more adept at hiding them.

    Most sober people point toward it as a defining moment in the perception of “Wall Street” and the “Too Big to Fail” pardigm.

    Case in point Tyler Cowen (if memory serves) pointed to it as well. Obviously he has some nefarious motive as well.

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  45. Steve Verdon says:

    Again, note that LTCM bailout is not even on the “government bailouts” list.

    Call me “political” for noting that? No.

    That is a clever bit of manipulation. It isn’t that you pointed out what I had already pointed out as being political it was your complete over the top reaction to my holding up the LTCM incident as a “game changer” that now in hind sight looks like very bad policy. Allowing collapse might have been a better move as it wouldn’t have further entrenched the too big to fail concept. Sure it would have hurt back then, but probably less than the latter collapse. Your over the top near manic responses (you’d crap out 2 even 3 responses in short order–e.g. in 7 minutes you wrote 3 posts!). It is almost as if you were defending that policy move.

    Your claims that I was saying it was public money and that I had been corrected but keep making the false claim on the other hand just simply indicates your an ass.

    That is, say something that is false, be corrected, and then say that same false thing again, and again, and again.

    You wrote that JP, you were probably typing away furiously at the time as well. Probably couldn’t bang that response out fast enough. But then we look back at my post and we see…there was nothing false. I never claimed public money was used, in fact I stated explicitly it wasn’t used. I never claimed it was the first, and a careful reading of the context of my comment indicates that LTCM is one amongst many.

    You, John Persona, made shit up. You were not responding to what I wrote, but to a fiction you created. You had post after post after post responding to me trying to point out I didn’t make any of the false claims you initially said I did. You said I was being irrational and refusing to have a rational discourse…but we look back and see that it is you who lost it and went completely off the rails.

    The nice thing is that having you repeatedly shoot yourself in the foot your own credibility will have taken a nice hit.

    Have a nice day.

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  46. john personna says:

    You still haven’t named one thing that was unique or different about LTCM.

    It was not a game changer. And it was not a government bailout.

    No wonder you are getting mad and throwing up chaff.

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  47. john personna says:

    BTW, while you are making claims about what you didn’t say, let’s review:

    Someons: “The bailouts of Wall Street were led by Bernanke and Hank Paulson. They are not Democrats”

    Steve: “Not quite, bailouts started prior to Bernanke and Paulson. A key one I point too is the saving of Long Term Capital Management which was orchestrated by the Fed and people in the Clinton Administration. Granted it didn’t use public money, but it sent a signal: If you are big and your failure could damage the world wide financial system, we’ll save you [you being the creditors, not the share holders] somehow. Bad signal to send. A generous interpretation of the actions at the time is that they wanted to avert a financial panic and the negative impact on the economy that would be sure to follow, but to say “it was all Bush’s fault” is to close your eyes to historical facts.

    There it is.

    You wanted to move eyes from Bush to Clinton, ignoring (a) that this was not a government bailout, and (b) it was not first.

    It is almost as if you want to ” close your eyes to historical facts.”

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  48. john personna says:

    Steve and Drew: “when someone says ‘Bush’ we say ‘Clinton’”

    … “but you are ‘political’ if you notice.”

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  49. Steve Verdon says:

    JP,

    I’ve been writing quite a few times here and at Dave Schuler’s that the problem is bipartisan, it is in my first comment in this thread as well. In fact, I quoted that part a second time when responding to you.

    You know all this.

    To ignore it like you have suggests that not only are you partisan but mendacious as well.

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  50. john personna says:

    You made that “not Bush, Clinton” comment and I replied.

    Why do you even use LTCM as your “bipartisan” example?

    If it’s because it lets you name Clinton, and Democrats, then you know exactly why I’m coming at you.

    Again, LTCM was not a government bailout. It was not a “first.” It was just a “Clinton.”

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  51. Drew says:

    JP -

    Your debating tactic of hiding behind overly literal interpretations when convenient is showing again. Only a fool doesn’t understand and acknowledge the effect of the response to LTCM had. I mispoke the other night. It was a PBS Frontline broadcast. I’m sure you can find it and watch if interested. Funny thing though, not a mention of 1907, or some official list of “government bailouts.” You see, they were focused on gaining understanding.

    I also find it interesting, in light of this: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576219073867182108.html

    that this essay focused on financial services as draining the talent pool, when government is manifestly doing so, and with no productivity gains to show for it.

    Oh, that’s right, we learned a couple weeks ago that the size of goverment doesn’t matter. Forgot.

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  52. john personna says:

    Yes, I am being literal. If you want to talk about federal bailouts use one of the dozen where their monies or loan guarantees were used.

    Fact based reality.

    And if some radio show did not go back to last century panics I think that is their lack of historic depth. The older examples are real. Factual.

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  53. Steve Verdon says:

    You made that “not Bush, Clinton” comment and I replied.

    No, I didn’t say, “not Bush, Clinton.” Yet another example of your mendacious behavior in this thread. A better paraphrasing would be, “no just Bush, here’s a Clinton era example….” But again that doesn’t fit with your agenda here.

    Why do you even use LTCM as your “bipartisan” example?

    I was responding to a previous comment about Bernanke and Paulson bailing out Wall Street, that it goes back further and referenced one under the Clinton Administration. The context is that it spans administrations that cross political parties. So it isn’t just:

    They say, “Bush”. I say, “Clinton.” That is a dishonest representation of my post. A better representation would be, “Bush,” to which I reply, “Its not partisan, look at this example under Clinton, it is a bipartisan problem.”

    Further, as the GAO report indicates there was legitimate concern at the time that the NYFRB brokered bailout would have consequences regarding both moral hazard and further entrenching the “too big to fail” attitude. Are you saying, that LTCM had no such implications at all?

    If it’s because it lets you name Clinton, and Democrats, then you know exactly why I’m coming at you.

    No, it is a counter example to show it isn’t just Republicans/Bush/whatever that the problem goes deeper.

    Again, LTCM was not a government bailout. It was not a “first.” It was just a “Clinton.”

    1. The government was involved, your own words was that “the government strong armed” the creditors/consortium.
    2. I never said it was a first. Never even implied it.
    3. The context of “Clinton” was to highlight that the problem is more than what the partisans here like to make it out to be. For someone who claims to be an independent you sure to spend most of your time harping on those who mention “Clinton” and context be damned.

    Fact based reality.

    Coming from you, after you’ve made up a position from me, this is the height of hilarity.

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  54. Drew says:

    “Fact based reality.”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Libya is “kinetic military action.”

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  55. john personna says:

    In your long post Steve, you’ve repeated that you put LTCM out as an example from the Clinton era to demonstrate the government bailouts did not start with Bush, etc.

    … except again, LTCM was not a government bailout and was hardly a precedent-setting first for transfer of federal funds to make up for private losses.

    If you want a Democratic example, maybe you should go find one.

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