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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The next, worse financial crisis

By Brett Arends, MarketWatch
BOSTON (MarketWatch) — The last financial crisis isn’t over, but we might as well start getting ready for the next one.
Sorry to be gloomy, but there it is.
Why? Here are 10 reasons. 

3. The incentives remain crooked. People outside finance — from respected political pundits like George Will to normal people on Main Street — still don’t fully get this. Wall Street rules aren’t like Main Street rules. The guy running a Wall Street bank isn’t in the same “risk/reward” situation as a guy running, say, a dry-cleaning shop. Take all our mental images of traditional American free-market enterprise and put them to one side. This is totally different. For the people on Wall Street, it’s a case of heads they win, tails they get to flip again. Thanks to restricted stock, options, the bonus game, securitization, 2-and-20 fee structures, insider stock sales, “too big to fail” and limited liability, they are paid to behave recklessly, and they lose little — or nothing — if things go wrong. (Add proprietary high frequency trading desks at Goldman Sachs etc. that completely rig the market in favor or Wall Street and against little savers and investors).

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