Celebrity CEO Jamie Dimon has made a compelling case against breaking up major US financial institutions. He cites the advantages inherent to economies of scale and claims that bigger banks are able to get better leverage out of their assets and thereby give average customers like little old me a better deal on financial products.
What doesn’t get mentioned by Dimon and his entourage is the power of moral hazard, the implicit subsidy and the blackmail potential that all come implicitly with being a bank that is too big to fail. Without indulging in paranoia worthy of Beppe Grillo and looking for the Bankster under the bed, we still can make a reasonable case that bigger banks are given significant advantages that exempt them from the laws that mere mortals like little old me are forced to obey if we desire a peaceful life.
We can statistically quantify “Too Big To Fail” in a number of different ways. George Will of the Washington Post is man familiar with the uses (and perhaps the nefarious uses) of quantitative data. He tells us 5 banks hold assets equal to 60% of the GDP. The top 10 banks hold 61% of all commercial banking assets; they only had 26% 20 years ago.
Will’s basically Conservative bent leads him to not be fond of the Dodd-Frank Act inflicted upon American Industry by the current Obama Regime. I certainly agree and sympathize with this point of view. However, not liking Dodd-Frank is one thing, getting rid of it and the systematic problems that made its overreach tenable is a taller order than merely quantified complaining. To actually dismantle the TBTF Empire and the implicit guarantee it enjoys via Dodd-Frank, it may help us to indulge in some Presidential History involving too great men. President Andrew Jackson foresaw and attempted to prevent this problem. President Theodore Roosevelt solved TBTF in some industries other than banking.