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A simplified explanation of America's banking crisis and how it might be fixed

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Richard Clark     Permalink
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The news about banks has gotten kind of confusing.   If you turn on The Today Show at random, you can find yourself listening to something like this, from the chairman of the FDIC:

 

"As of this date, all these large banks exceed regulatory standards for being well capitalized.   So for right now they're fine...

 

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But then you accidentally flip over to CNBC and hear this:

 

"With regard to so many of these banks, the stocks are telling us that their underlying equity value is zero, or maybe just a little bit above zero."

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And then someone from the Obama Administration (whose very jobs depend on us understanding what they're trying to do to try and fix the economy, who are actually trying to explain this stuff to us) will say something like this:

 

"Those institutions that need additional capital will be able to access a new funding mechanism that uses capital from the treasury as a bridge to private capital."

 

Finally, here's Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Capitol Hill explaining his plan to fix our banking system:

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"The capital will come with conditions to help ensure that every dollar of taxpayer assistance is being used to generate a level of lending greater than what would have been possible in the absence of government support.   And this assistance will come with terms."

 

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)
 

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