Friday, February 20, 2009

Should We Create Government Sponsored Shadow Banks?

According to Paul McCulley from Pimco, to revive the economy the government simply needs to create government sponsored shadow banks. Naturally this idea is a little controversial, especially considering the recent demise of this type of system. Tim Iacono from The Mess That Greenspan Made looks at an article written by McCulley in his blog post below:

Paul McCulley of Pimco thinks the new kind of shadow banking system is just swell:

The United States government now has both the tools and the will to save the private banking system, and more importantly, the real economy, from its own debt-deflationary pathologies. Not that it will be easy. But it can be done, notwithstanding the catcalls that greeted Secretary Geithner last week.

And the essential game plan is clear: use the power of the Fed, the FDIC and the Treasury to create government-sponsored shadow banks, such as the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility (the TALF) and the Public-Private Investment Fund (the P-PIF).

The formula? Take a small dollop of the Treasury’s free-to-spend taxpayer money (there is still $350 billion left) to serve as the equity in a government sponsored shadow bank, and then lever the daylights out of it with loans from the Federal Reserve, funded with the printing press.
Yes, there will be subsidies involved, sometimes huge ones. And yes, the process will seem arbitrary and capricious at times, reeking of inequities. Such is the nature of government rescue schemes for broken banking systems, while maintaining them as privately owned.

You might not like it. I don’t like it, because regulators should never have let bankers, both conventional bankers and shadow bankers, run amok. But they did.

So it’s now time to hold the nose and do what must be done, however stinky it smells, not because it’s pleasant but because it is necessary.
Pragmatism takes on a whole new meaning at Pimco.

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