Low Bank Capital Is Next Fiscal Crisis: Simon Johnson

From Bloomberg News

The summer debate that has dominated Washington seems straightforward. Under what conditions should the U.S. government be allowed to borrow more money? The numbers that have been bandied about focus on reducing the cumulative deficit projection over the next 10 years, as measured by the Congressional Budget Office.

But there is a serious drawback to this measure because it ignores what will probably prove to be the U.S.’s single largest fiscal problem over the next decade: The lack of adequate capital buffers at banks.

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"Can Goldman Sachs Fail?"–Simon Johnson at the INET Conference, Bretton Woods

MIT Sloan Prof. Simon Johnson

“Who in the room thinks that if Goldman Sachs hit a rock, a hypothetical rock — I’m not saying they have, I’m not saying they will — today, who here thinks they would be allowed to fail, like Lehman Brothers did, unimpeded by any government bailout, starting Monday morning? Can Goldman Sachs fail?”

“I’ve asked this question around the country and only one person has ever raised his hand. It was in New York. He had a big short position in Goldman stock. That’s New York.

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