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Friday, March 11, 2011

Ryan Avent on Government Austerity as a Morality Play (And it's Discontents)

The certain effect of this effort to punish spoiled brats so they learn their lesson is tougher times for workers who didn't necessarily take big mortgages, who didn't necessarily rush into structured financial products, who didn't necessarily want to spend outlandish sums on misguided government initiatives, and who didn't necessarily want to cut taxes on high earners. Their crime is to work in a cyclically vulnerable industry.

If you want to improve the incentives for market participants then improve the incentives for market participants. Support a regulatory system strong enough to allow firms that made bad bets to accept the cost of those bad bets. If Wall Street is spoiled, it's not because interest rates are low. It's because Washington has routinely stepped in to protect big insitutions from failure and has not managed to recover its implicit subsidies after the fact. [source]

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