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Break Up The Megabanks With Economist Simon Johnson

Steve Scher
02/18/2011 at 9:00 a.m.

US taxpayers bailed out some of this country's largest banks because they were "too big to fail." Are those banks smaller now? Will we have to bail them out again if another bubble bursts? Economist Simon Johnson argues that the biggest banks ought to be broken up, or at least required to have greater amounts of equity funding.

Recently, the credit rating agency Standard and Poor's announced that it will evaluate banks not just on their creditworthiness, but also on their ability to attract support from their government in a time of crisis. That means that the larger banks are inherently reliant on the government of their home country. Is that the way banks should operate? The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Simon Johnson, joins us to talk about banks and the economic crisis.

Plus, Cliff Mass joins us with a weekend weather forecast.


Simon Johnson is a professor of entrepreneurship at MIT's Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He's also the author of the book, "13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown."

Cliff Mass is an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington.

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