Will this latest round of proposals end the crisis? I know the stock market reacted joyously on Friday, but I’m not hopeful. One solution being promoted by the Securities and Exchange Commission — to make life more difficult for short sellers — is a shameful sideshow. A second solution, which Mr. Paulson announced Friday morning, requires money market funds to create an insurance pool to cover themselves against losses.
That may provide comfort to investors who equate money funds with savings accounts, but it is fraught with moral hazard.
And the third solution — the big megillah — is Mr. Paulson’s plan to create a new government mechanism to buy mortgage-backed securities from big banks and investment houses. Once they are off those companies’ books, life can return to normal — or so Mr. Paulson hopes.
He acknowledged that it would likely cost taxpayers “hundreds of billions of dollars.” I think it will cost more than $1 trillion.
The propblem with a Hail Mary Pass?
Somebody has to be willing to catch it!