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POLITICS

The Federal Reserve’s conservative: Break up the big banks

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

The most conservative man at the Federal Reserve may be Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. For years, he’s been arguing that the big banks are a problem for anyone who believes in free markets. At CPAC over the weekend, he made this case, very directly, to conservatives:

This morning, I am going to address what I consider the injustice of operating our economy under the thumb of financial institutions that are so large they are considered “too big to fail” (TBTF).

I will argue that these institutions operate under a privileged status that exacts an unfair tax upon the American people.

I will argue that they represent not only a threat to financial stability but to fair and open competition, that they are the practitioners of crony capitalism and not the agents of democratic capitalism that makes our country great….

And, last, I will argue that dealing with TBTF is a cause that should be embraced by conservatives, liberals and moderates alike. For regardless of your ideological bent, there is no escaping the reality that TBTF banks’ bad decisions inflicted harm upon the American people during the “awful moment” of the 2008–09 crisis. The American people will be grateful to whoever liberates them from a recurrence of taxpayer bailouts.

We know the big banks borrow at cheaper rates than otherwise, thanks to the assumption that the government will bail them out if they fail. Fisher argues that this is not only unfair, but destructive.

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