Redistribution through the Geithner Plan
Appropriate policies to address the problem of toxic assets should act as automatic stabilizers, so that institutions who toxic assets turn out to be worthless receive more public support than institutions whose toxic assets have value. Furthermore, such policies should be frugal in their demands on the taxpayer. In the context of a simple illustrative toxic asset, the paper shows that the Geithner Plan fulfills neither of these desiderata. The plan is extremely wasteful when banks need only modest bailouts; when they need large bailouts, the plan is ineffective.
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