Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harvard Prof Bill George Gets It: Goldman Is Evil, Banking Is Not

Most banks are not the rape artists that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are, yet all bankers are being thrown into the pot in the call for more regulation. Such regulation will further suffocate the economy. If you are a hater, you need to know who to hate. Hate Blankfein, not your local banker.

Harvard Prof Bill George explains:

Banks like Goldman and JPMorgan Chase did not need bailout money but benefited from it and have now unfairly turned a profit in the economic downturn...

The danger is that we will punish healthy banks for the sins of failed banks. Most bankers have behaved responsibly throughout the crisis. This is the wrong time to tie their hands. Instead, we need these banks to get back to their chartered roles: to provide financial resources to consumers and businesses — large and small, new and old.

Commercial and investment banks are the backbone of American commerce. They provide the capital for business expansion and new company formation. In the past 20 years, 70 percent of all jobs have been created by start-up companies and small businesses. But the lack of available financing in the past year has severely crimped the ability of small businesses to grow their business and to add jobs. New company start-ups are finding it extremely difficult to get any financing.

Continuing to vilify all bankers will create a vicious cycle: It will fan the flames leading to excessive regulations. This will cause banks to pull back and lend less, thereby crimping expansion by small business and shutting down start-ups. This will intensify the jobs crisis and throw the United States into a double-dip recession.
Note: The double-dip recession is coming as a result of Bernanke's money printing policy (Now a non-printing policy). But more regs on bankers will exacerbate the situation.


  1. "something that brings sorrow, distress. calamity..." that's how evil is defined by Webster's. Yet many have been rewarded by and are thrilled with Goldman so it depends on where you're sitting.

    Not familar with Prof George but he sounds a bit out of touch with the real world: "Commercial and investment banks are the backbone of American commerce. They provide the capital for business expansion and new company formation"

    In what century did this ever occur? Commercial banks control a small fraction of total financial assets in the US and real estate loans are by far their biggest asset/liability. They do not provide for "business expansion" nor are they the "backbone of Amercian commerce." To suggest this is laughable.

    Let their exec pay be regulated, reduced,and taxed. The danger is we will allow misguided Prof's to fool the American public into thinking that commercial banks are or have been part of the private economy. They were effectively nationalized in the 1930's and have served only the politicians.

    "Saving" the banking system at this point would be truly evil. Its past time for an audit, its time to abolish the FED and its network of looters.

  2. "Commercial banks control a small fraction of total financial assets in the US..."

    Great point.

    Last I looked, they only had a TRILLION DOLLARS of excess reserves that they could loan out.

  3. Banacek - $1 trillion represents less than 1% of all financial assets in US according to Dr. Rutledge based on Federal Reserve data:

    Total commercial bank assets in US are about $11 Trillion or less than 10% of total financial assets in US.

    Commercial banks are only useful to the FED which manipulates money and credit to benefit the government at the expense of the citizens. Abolishment would be both Just and a practical benefit. But I don't expect it. Bottom line is that while the government actions are a drag on our freedom and the economy, we need to keep it in perspective. The US economy is so large and complex it cannot be controlled by the FED, only occassionally distorted.