More on the Bailout of the Banking System

Michael Stephens | December 19, 2011

J. Andrew Felkerson writes at AlterNet about the study he authored detailing the Federal Reserve’s bailout of financial institutions over the course of the latest crisis.  He explains some of the reasoning behind his study’s methodology, particularly with respect to his use of a cumulative measure of loans and asset purchases (the other two measures he uses involve the peak amount outstanding at a moment in time and peak weekly amounts):

Perhaps the largest difference in our analysis is that we learned our money and banking theory from the late Hyman Minsky. He taught us that the modern economy is essentially financial, and as such, is prone to systemic financial crises that if left unchecked can lead to “bone crunching depressions.” Therefore it is essential to have a LOLR. Thus, any transaction between the Fed and the markets which is not part of conventional monetary operations, such as lending from the discount window or open market operations, represents an instance in which private markets were not able to or were unwilling to engage in the normal financial intermediation process. If it any point in time the private markets were capable (or willing) to carry out business as usual, Fed intervention would not have been required. Thus, we need to account for each extraordinary event, and the best way that we know to do this is by summing each instance–which results in a cumulative total of over $29 trillion dollars.

Read the rest here.

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