The debate over Ben Bernanke’s reappointment, and his approach to the financial system, may after all have had some impact. In a speech yesterday, Kevin Warsh – the Federal Reserve Board Governor who liaises between Ben Bernanke and financial markets – signaled a major change in Fed thinking regarding “too big to fail”.
Warsh was much blunter than we have heard from the Fed in a long while: “Moral hazard in the financial system is higher than any of us should countenance”; “eradicating the too-big-to-fail problem should be the predominant policy goal”; and “in the new regime, no firm should be too big to fail.”
At some level, Warsh and his colleagues are finally learning the main lesson of 2008-09.
“We need a system in which insolvent firms fail. Market discipline only works if governments can demonstrably and credibly commit to allow firms to fail. This system isn’t just about giving government officials better options on Sunday nights. It is about making sure that market discipline is operative in the prior months and years to avoid altogether the proverbial Sunday night judgments.”
But there is still a major problem in the Fed’s thinking. Continue reading “Kevin Warsh: “No Firm Should Be Too Big To Fail””