Monday Sep 15, 2008

Avoiding "Moral" Hazard

In a credit crisis, the "lender of last" will weigh options, now having to balance the desire to provide liquidity versus its desire to ensure market dynamics ("Credit Crisis Strains Government's Options," WSJ, Sept. 12, 2008):

Officials are also acutely aware of the problem of "moral hazard." Bailing out too many firms, the reasoning goes, would encourage more risk taking in the future. That makes officials reluctant to be seen as rescuing another institution. The Fed made a $29 billion loan to help J.P. Morgan take over Bear Stearns. It's not clear that it would be willing to do that for another firm.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said that institutions must be allowed to fail and that markets can't expect the government to lend money or support every time there's a crisis. "For market discipline to constrain risk effectively, financial institutions must be allowed to fail," Mr. Paulson said in a speech in July.


Wednesday Jun 13, 2007

Money Supply

Despite the recent correction to the falling prices and rising yields of U.S. treasuries, I've been wondering how the Federal Reserve might react in the coming months as the bond market remains jittery. The talk to beat inflation was tough when the new chair took his place. However, if money is tightened to reduce inflation, interest rates will have to rise even more, furthering the slump in the housing market already suffering from the recent subprime melt-down. This course of action will lead to serious unhappiness among those owning property. If the Fed decides on merely talking about beating the inflation while letting money loose, interest rates will remain less volatile and inflation will rise but perhaps at a slower rate than would cause a shock. If I were to bet, I would bet that the Fed will choose the latter coure of action. It is the politically "prudent" course although many who earn wages and have little property to own may suffer more than others.
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