Douglas French: Bank Failures in Slow Motion

In a speech given for the Supporters of von Mises Institute, called The Economic Recovery: Washington's Big Lie, exclusively for the Supporters of that organization, on October 8, 2010: The speaker reminded his audience that: "Every Friday evening a few more banks are closed - seized by the various state banking regulators and handed over to the (FDIC) - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for liquidation. Of course, this all happens rather quietly, barely making the news. We're told these bank failures are no big deal - no reason to panic. The names of the banks change over the weekend and many customers don't know the difference. Though we've only had 294 failures this cycle, and yes, it is a big deal: Adjusted to current dollars, the Depression banking crisis was $100 billion, the S&L crisis was $923 billion, and the current crisis is nearly
$8 trillion. As one shameless comedian said: "A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon we're talking about big money!" So, while FDIC chairwoman Sheila Blair said: "The current crisis would be nothing, compared with previous cycles, such as the savings-and-loan days," - dream on, Ms. Blair, it's actually much bigger, because the financial sector had grown to be nearly half the economy by 2006, as measured by the earnings of the S&P 500.
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