…[DONALD MARRON] I hope the government has set it up that, once it gets going, they can change the terms, as the market gets more comfortable, as more confidence this thing is actually going to work, isn’t as concerned about what the Congress is going to do as they are in the case of TALF.
So this is getting things going. There needs to be flexibility in the future. I’m assuming Tim Geithner and Larry Summers have thought that through. So once we get it started, we can make sure it becomes a positive continuing force and not some kind of a windfall.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Mr. Krugman, go ahead. Argue back. That’s the argument is, you need to attract investors, so…
PAUL KRUGMAN: I don’t think that’s the issue, really. I mean, there’s a lot of people who’ve got money parked in the banks. The problem is that people — it’s the banks as institutions that are the issue, not whether people are willing to buy these particular assets.
In a way, we’d like to make the whole story of these assets go away. The only reason that they’re there, the only reason it’s an issue is because the banks have lost so much money that they are not effective at their job of passing funds from one end of the economy to the other.
This is not going to change that. I mean, it’s going to make some of the stuff sell for a slightly better price, but the banks are still going to be deep underwater, at least the troubled ones are going to be. It’s going to convey some windfall benefits to people who are holding some of this paper who are not actually crucial financial intermediaries.