Armstrong Economics Blog/Banking Crisis Re-Posted Mar 26, 2023 by Martin Armstrong
QUESTION: Hi. I do not understand why you keep advocating over and over how the depositors should be bailed out over 250k. It makes no sense from a moral hazard perspective. It is fact that should they do that, in spite of depositors signing agreements acknowledging that deposits over 250k would not be guaranteed, the Fed will also need to cancel all outstanding debt instruments, whose borrowers also signed an agreement that if they don’t pay they lose the asset. The moral hazard is so severe as to bloody the eyes. Why do you keep endorsing the bailout which will have to be at least initially funded by taxpayers even if they get the money back? The money to shore up bank reserves in exchange for collateral has to come from somewhere. What is the real fear, that people will move deposits direct to T-bills and in so doing, set up funding for a US CBDC? Please address the moral hazard aspect of your position. So far, I’ve heard nothing to defend the immorality of it.
ANSWER: Do not confuse a bank depositor with (1) an investor in a fund, or (2) bank shareholders & Management. A bank depositor is NOT an investor. The $250k is by NO MEANS sufficient for small businesses. They need to keep large amounts on hand for payroll etc. You do business and accept credit cards and they deposit that into your bank account.
Bank depositors are unsophisticated average people. The sophisticated investor moves their, money to a hedge fund or money market fund and fully understands that there is a risk associated with that investment. The bank depositor accepts no risk on any investment the bank makes. It does not give them, a piece of their profits. That goes to shareholders. It is a bailout of the entity and thus the shareholders which presents the moral hazard perspective.
If deposits in excess of $250 are NOT covered, you wipe out small businesses, they cannot pay employees and the ripple effect will be the total destruction of the entire economy. Your house will become worthless for its value will drop to only what someone can pay in cash.
There is a HUGE difference between investing and losing and simply depositing your money in a bank because we are moving to an electronic monetary system that there will be no way for a depositor to even demand money from a bank. Some are restricting wires to $3,000 and limiting the amount of cash one can withdraw. There is also not enough paper currency to facilitate bank withdrawal on a grand scale. Bank robbery will come to an end without cash.
None of that will unfold if a hedge fund fails. We must look deeper into this entire question.