terça-feira, 7 de outubro de 2008

Stock injection, not cash for trash

O mais recente episódio da série sobre a atual crise financeira americana do ótimo This American Life chega à mesma conclusão a que Paul Krugman chegou há algumas semanas: a melhor saída é "stock injection", e não "cash for trash".

Quanto li o artigo do Krugman naquele dia (22 de setembro), achava que ele estava sendo apenas provocativo -- como de costume. Hoje percebi que ele estava falando muito sério, e dou total razão a ele!

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Cash for Trash


I have a four-step view of the financial crisis:

1. The bursting of the housing bubble has led to a surge in defaults and foreclosures, which in turn has led to a plunge in the prices of mortgage-backed securities — assets whose value ultimately comes from mortgage payments.

2. These financial losses have left many financial institutions with too little capital — too few assets compared with their debt. This problem is especially severe because everyone took on so much debt during the bubble years.

3. Because financial institutions have too little capital relative to their debt, they haven't been able or willing to provide the credit the economy needs.

4. Financial institutions have been trying to pay down their debt by selling assets, including those mortgage-backed securities, but this drives asset prices down and makes their financial position even worse. This vicious circle is what some call the "paradox of deleveraging."


The logic of the crisis seems to call for an intervention, not at step 4, but at step 2: the financial system needs more capital. And if the government is going to provide capital to financial firms, it should get what people who provide capital are entitled to — a share in ownership, so that all the gains if the rescue plan works don't go to the people who made the mess in the first place.

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