Economists and financial players are closely watching how European officials handle Dexia’s financial contracts, which span the globe, to see what that might mean for other European banks that might need government support. As trading partners demand more cash, those demands could consume more of the money put up by the Belgian, French and Luxembourg governments.
“We know what the guarantees are that the government put down, but you don’t know how much the taxpayer will end up paying,” said Paul De Grauwe, a professor of economics at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. “I’m pretty sure there are other banks in Europe that have done similar things and may be caught in the crisis that is now brewing. I don’t think this is an isolated incident.”
It may be difficult for European governments to avoid making bank trading partners whole, especially American institutions, since the United States government paid full value to foreign banks that dealt with A.I.G. and also opened Federal Reserve programs to troubled foreign banks. Dexia, for example, leaned heavily on emergency lending programs created by the Fed during the depths of the financial crisis. At its peak borrowing near the end of 2008, Dexia received $58.5 billion from the Fed.
Some financial players may also argue that since France and Belgium took equity stakes in Dexia in 2008 — as part of the government bailout then — there was an implicit guarantee of the company’s obligations, similar to that of the housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States.
Walker F. Todd, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and a former official at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said governments were setting a troubling precedent when they bailed out a company and paid its trading partners in full, as occurred with A.I.G. and as might occur with Dexia.
“In the short run, it would help if the authorities would say they refuse to provide publicly funded money for the payoffs of derivatives,” he said. “This is like using public funds to support your local casino. It is difficult to see how this is good for society in the long run.”
Per un'analisi di come le istituzioni europee stiano finanziando con denaro pubblico le banche, e così danneggiando i bilanci nazionali e alimentando il rischio sistemico (cosa che si tende a dimenticare: la socializzazione delle perdite porta inevitabilmente ad una razionale e naturale disinvoltura nelle scommesse finanziarie, alimentando l'instabilità), vi raccomando la lettura dell'articolo di Adriana Cerretelli sul Sole 24 Ore di un paio di giorni fa. Scrive la Cerretelli: