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Some new panhandlers in Harvard Square

From Jesse’s Cafe Amercain

~~~ This was the very moment of Obama’s failure, when he allowed Summers, Geithner and Bernanke to establish the principle of “Too Big To Fail” and set up a financial oligarchy at the expense of taxpayers.

We would have expected this out of the Treasury under Hank Paulson, but to see this kind of policy error favoring Wall Street over the US taxpayers from a government elected on the promise of reform is inexcusable, a disgrace.

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~~~ Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) — Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said the world’s biggest economy is suffering because of the U.S. government’s failure to nationalize banks during the financial crisis.

“If we had done the right thing, we would be able to have more influence over the banks,” Stiglitz told reporters at an economic conference in Shanghai Oct 31. “They would be lending and the economy would be stronger.”

Stiglitz has stuck with his view even after the U.S. economy returned to growth in the third quarter and as banks’ share prices climbed this year.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, appearing yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, said the country’s economic recovery hinges in part on banks taking more risk and restoring the flow of credit to businesses.

“The big risk we face now is that banks are going to overcorrect and not take enough risk,” Geithner said. “We need them to take a chance again on the American economy. That’s going to be important to recovery.”

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President Barack Obama said on Oct. 24 that the nation’s lenders, supported by taxpayers in the crisis, need to “fulfill their responsibility” by lending to small businesses still struggling to get credit.

Companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. benefited from a $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout package last year. In contrast, Obama said that too many small businesses are still short of money, adding that his administration will “take every appropriate step” to encourage banks to lend.

Bank Lending

“We have this very strange situation today in America where we have given banks hundreds of billions of dollars and the president has to beg the banks to lend and they refuse,” Stiglitz said. “What we did was the wrong thing. It has weakened the economy and has increased our deficit, making it more difficult for the future.”

While the U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the first expansion in more than a year, the Columbia University economist said the recession is “nowhere near” its end, citing rising unemployment and weak demand.

The U.S. government plans to alter the way that a similar rescue would be handled in the future. Draft legislation proposes that banks, hedge funds and other financial firms holding more than $10 billion in assets would pay to rescue companies whose collapse would shake the financial system. (And it is an inherently unfair plan that creates even additional moral hazard by penalizing sound banking by forcing it to pay for reckless bank management. – Jesse)

Citigroup and Bank of America shares have quadrupled from this year’s lows in March.”~~~