Wednesday, October 5, 2011

MORE CONVERSATIONS WITH BEAN: Inbreeding the Banks


We've had our greyhound, Bean, for a year now. He's adapting well to life off the track, and he seems happy to have traded his racing days for a life of reflection. Every day he grows in wisdom and grace. He is a good dog, eager to please and quick to learn. We have begun to engage one another in conversation with some frequency. Here is one such exchange.
ME: Yes I did, Bean. Very interesting, don't you think?
BEAN: Interesting?! Frightening is what it is.
ME: How so?
BEAN: I've been watching this for a long time, ever since the news started talking about banks being too big to fail.
ME: And?
BEAN: Seems like merging is the wrong way to go about fixing the problem.
ME: You make a good point. If they're already too big, mergers just make them bigger.
BEAN: Yeah, but that's not the half of it. Think what's involved in the merger. You got a bad bank, full up with toxic assets, about to go under, and you merge it with another bank where all the same problems haven't come to light yet. You haven't solved anything. I mean, you palm Merril and Countrywide off on Bank of America, Wachovia off on Wells Fargo, Bear Sterns and Washington Mutual off on JP Morgan, you just made yourself a ticking time bomb. There are only four commercial banks left at the top. You're running out of places to bury the crap, if you know what I mean.
ME: You seem to have a pretty good handle on this for a dog.
BEAN: Well it's not exactly rocket science.
ME: A lot of people find this all very complicated.
BEAN: That's because they don't know how to think like dogs. Look at it like this. Suppose you had a really bad pit bull. He's aggressive, unmanageable, and anti-social. He's already done serious injury to a lot of innocent bystanders. What do you do with a dog like that? Do you neuter him? Rehabilitate him? Put him down? ...Or do you breed him to a bigger, stronger dog?  

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