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From economist-blogger Arnold Kling’s 50-page paper on the financial crisis:

James Kwak, who writes “The Baseline Scenario” with economist-blogger Simon Johnson, explains:

Basically, Kling says that the crisis was composed of the things along the top, which were caused by the things on the left. You can see that he places the blame squarely on poor capital requirements regulations, which gave various banks incentives to (a) originate-to-distribute instead of originate-to-hold; (b) securitize every which way they could; (c) use credit default swaps to reduce capital requirements even further; (d) stuff toxic securities into SIVs; etc.

Because he believes that weak capital requirements (which determine how much capital banks must have on hand in relation to their liabilities) were central to the crisis, Kling thinks we should “encourage financial structures that involve less debt, so that resolution of failures is less complicated” and try to “foster a set of small, diverse financial institutions.” Kwak mostly agrees with Kling’s recommendations, but thinks that Kling should have put more emphasis on making “key institutions” smaller. In any case, you should be reading both of them.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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