October 05, 2008
$700 Billion Is Just a Nice Round Number
Posted by Anna Gelpern

... that coincidentally happens to be both the size of the U.S. TARP and of Germany's blanket guarantee of private savings, extended on Sunday.  Ireland went first, with a blanket guarantee of all liabilities for six big banks.

As governments everywhere are taking over financial and quasi-financial institutions everywhere in the heat of the moment, Willem Buiter proposes "a permanent shareholding for the state."  The predicate in a nutshell is this:  "As the financial sector grabs for the public nipple at the first sign of trouble, it is imperative that the price of the milk obtained at the public breast be made painfully high - both to achieve fairness and political acceptability and to encourage more responsible behaviour in the future."  It strikes me as a mother and a bureaucrat that parenting is harder than nursing.

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