Back when I was in high school, a know-it-all buddy helped me overhaul my Ford Falcon's manual transmission. When we finished, the car had three reverse gears and one forward gear. You can understand why I grimaced whenever he offered his help again.

The banking industry reacts to offers of assistance from Congress in much the same way, with good reason. Congressional fixes often do as much harm as good. The credit crunch engendered by the FDIC Improvement Act of 1991 is one example.

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