Richebacher's bleak scenario

Peter Kilander peterk at
Mon Nov 1 22:30:35 PST 1999

>> [This bounced for an address oddity. I know the author of this
>> article, Rick Ackerman. He's been saying this sort of thing since I
>> first met him over 10 years ago. Richebacher's been saying the same
>> thing since the mid-1980s. Maybe they're right this time.]
>It seems that they failed to take into account the systematic
>socialization of financial risks. I still think that the current bubble
>is too large for its losses to be effectively socialized.

You may be right. If I was conspiracy minded (and I am thanks to too much bad television and film) I'd suggest that Greenspan pushed the White House to get a deal on the repeal of Glass-Steagall which will enable the megamergering of financial institutions prior to the big POP. These monsters will be TBTF (too big to fail) thereby simplifying the government's clean-up job. (Plus, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is now one of the three heads heading Citigroup. Coincidence? I think not.)

Even the conservative William Safire has noted the prospect of a taxpayer bailout, aka socialization of losses. Wouldn't this go under the heading "Moral Hazard"? --------------------------------- New York Times Op-Ed Running Huge Risks November 1, 1999

WASHINGTON -- Americans are unaware that Congress and the president have just agreed to put us all at extraordinary financial and personal risk.

Senate Banking Chairman Phil Gramm has struck a deal with Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to knock down all fire walls between banks, insurance companies and brokerage houses. Global financiers are given the green light for ever-greater concentrations of power.

Few remember the reason for those fire walls: to curtail the spread of the sort of panic from one financial segment to another that helped lead to the Great Depression. But today's lust for global giantism has swept aside the voices of prudence; generous financial lobbies have persuaded our leaders that in enormous size there is strength.

Not everyone has forgotten the adage of "the bigger they come, the harder they fall." In a little-noticed speech to bankers about the need for oversight of the growing "appetite for risk," Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said that megabanks are becoming "complex entities that create the potential for unusually large systemic risks in the national and international economy should they fail."

*Fail?* That's a word that has been all but stricken from mergermania's vocabulary. It can only be used in the phrase "too big to fail" -- where the American taxpayer would have to bail out a failing multitentacled financial network lest it sink the whole jerry-built global edifice. A few of us have no appetite for assuming that risk -- which would be 10 times as costly as the 80's S.&L. debacle.

But that's just a monetary risk that, come hard-to-imagine hard times, would wipe out a decade's projected surplus. More irreversible is a greater risk that we are assuming this month -- the much more imminent risk to our private lives. (etc.).... [clip]

Peter K. (OK, so Greenspan's comments put a hole in my theory, but still, this list is woefully lacking in conspiracy theories. As for THE WORLD SOCIALIST MOVEMENT, good riddance, his tone was starting to bug me. WAY too cordial. Very suspicious.)

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