Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have quickly returned the money they got from the government.  The CEO Of JP Morgan sees it as  a badge of honor:

Amid the surge, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, has cemented his status as one of America’s most powerful and outspoken bankers. He has vocally distanced himself from the government’s financial support, calling the $25 billion in taxpayer money the bank received in December a “scarlet letter” and pushing with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others to repay the money swiftly. Those three banks repaid the money last month.

Whether a bank returns the money quickly and even if they never got any of it, the bank gained from the intervention.  Why?  Because if AIG, to name the key firm, had gone down, the chain of interlinked insurance contracts that it sold would have been worth nothing.  This would impact the whole financial system, including Goldman Sachs etc.  That’s why credit was coming to a halt as no-one knew the value of the insurance contracts that were supposedly providing a safety net.

So, taxpayers bailing out AIG helped all these banks, even those who did not participate in the government program.  (It’s a classic free-rider problem in public good provision.) So, where’s my Goldman bonus since I helped to save the financial system?

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