How to Make the Financial Crisis Worse

Washington scrambles and spends, but the banking sector gets worse and worse.


The great Ed Yardeni tallies up the awful record of the feds and their attempt to rescue Wall Street:

Investors in the S&P 500 Bank Composite Index have lost 86% since the price index peaked on February 20, 2007 despite everything Washington has done to end the financial crisis. On Friday, it was down to the lowest close since February 4, 1991. It is down 75% since Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke met with key members of Congress on September 19, 2008 to push for TARP. This year, on January 12, Larry Summers sent a letter to Congressional leaders explaining how the incoming administration would better manage TARP than the outgoing one. He let it be known that banks receiving TARP cash would be trapped into slashing their dividends to a penny a quarter. Since then, the Bank Composite's price index is down 49%. In the January 14 Morning Briefing, I wrote, "Shoot me now. Let's kill the capital market for bank common and preferred shares by banning dividends!".

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