October 14, 2008

UK and Eurozone leaders again outpace US

Great Britain and six Eurozone countries have ponied up more than 3 times as much to backstop their banks as the $7 billion Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has sought here.

Of the $2.3 trillion in pledged actions, about $341 billion was earmarked to be spent on recapitalizing banks by buying stakes. And that’s from countries with a smaller total population and total economy than the US.

Once again in this financial crisis, the US appears hesitant, halt and bumbling. Much of Wall Street’s Monday energy was in response to European events, not American ones.

And, I don’t know what the eurozone is doing, but Henry Blodget is right: U.S. banks need to be forced their assets ALL the way down to reality. Per Blodget, this would:
* Improve the banks' capital ratios, so they can start lending again
* Persuade private investors to invest in banks again
* Flush all the crap so we can start fresh...unlike Japan.

That said, speaking of relative economy sizes, the eurozone as a whole is now bigger than the US. So, if Paulson doesn’t get in gear, it won’t be the European tail wagging the American dog, but the European dog biting the American tail.

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