This was a bad day for the market and a very bad day for banking; the credit default swap spread for at least one major bank rose above 400 basis points – a level of implied default probability that we have not seen since mid-October.
Mr. Paulson suggested earlier this week that the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) take a break from bank recapitalizations, through at least January 20th (listen to today’s NPR story). After today, I seriously doubt this is a good idea. And I sincerely hope that the administration is preparing (another) policy U-turn.
Potentially more sustainable approaches are suggested in my previous post (and the associated WSJ.com article). Don’t be shy. Congress in particular needs to hear your suggestions – post them here or call your favorite representative. Just don’t urge inaction.