What I Would Do

My friend Dr. Jeff wrote in response to one of my articles:

  1. Jeff Says:
    Most of the questions you ask have been answered on the public record. They are available for our evaluation.

    In the case of Lehman, the Fed could not take the collateral because it did not qualify. If they had, you would have been leading the charge in objecting. Treasury had no authority.

    In the case of AIG, there was concern about counter-party risk that extended worldwide. We got a demonstration of that from Lehman.

    I am mystified by your criticism of the Obama administration — yet to weigh in on this.

    As a careful, loyal, respectful, and interested reader of your work, I have some questions. You have been critical of elected officials, appointed officials, independent bodies — in fact — every agency of government. Just how do you think we should be setting policy?

    Is there some other country or system that is doing this better?

    Just wondering…

Look, Jeff, I feel the same way,  I hate being merely a critic.  That is one reason that I submitted many of my policy ideas to the Obama administration.  Given the limitations of their website, though, I can’t easily point to what I submitted.

Aside from China, the competitive fringe in Asia is doing better.  Aside from that, other countries are a tie at best.

But what I would propose as a solution to our current crisis is this:

If I were offered the opportunity to fix things, I would take it, and:

The last one I like the least, but I’m afraid it would have to be done.  Phase two would be:

  • Move to a currency that is gold-backed.
  • Replace the Fed with a currency board.
  • Create a new unified regulator of all depositary institutions.
  • Slowly raise bank capital requirements, and make them countercyclical.
  • Bring all agreements onto the balance sheet with full disclosure.
  • Enforce a strict separation between regulated and non-regulated financials.  No cross-ownership, no cross-lending, no derivative agreements between them.
  • Bar investment banks from being publicly traded, and if regulated, with strict leverage/risk-based capital limits.
  • Move back to balanced budgets, and prepare for the pensions/entitlements crisis.

That is my proposal, and it is better thought out than the politically driven drivel that occupies DC today. I am thinking longer term than most politicians do, and aiming for a society that can work in the long run.