Professor Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, and Pat Buchanan had a rare moment of agreement this morning when they were discussing the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the financial crisis.
Reich lamented that the banks seemed to have learned nothing from the crisis as they have returned to the business practices that got them in trouble in the first place. Buchanan agreed, saying the banks are still "carrying these subprime mortgages in their colon. It's like a tumor."
Buchanan then asked Reich if he believed the government should have allowed a couple of the massive banks to fail like Lehman Brothers to teach them them the lesson that the government won't always consider them too big to fail. Reich found himself unexpectedly agreeing once more:
You know it's interesting Pat Buchanan, I start worrying about my own convictions when I hear you repeating back to me exactly what I believe. We ought to have either had kind of a restructuring of all of these big banks based upon something like Chapter 11, or we should have had a kind of temporary receivership, but we have the worst of both worlds. Taxpayers bailed them out so right now they know they were going to get a bailout next time. Before they didn't even know they were going to get a bailout, now they're making these wild trades they're doing the same risky stuff they were doing before, and now they know that if they get in trouble the government is going to bail them out because they are, quote, "too big to fail." Nothing in capitalism, no entity should be too big to fail.
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