It took Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan some time to come up with an excuse for opposing the long proposed and broadly supported increase in bank deposit insurance, from the present $100,000 to the inflation-adjusted level of $200,000, but when he finally came up with one, it was a doozy.
Mr. Greenspan says his opposition is due to his concern that - now get this - it would give "increased subsidies to upper-income individuals." Mr. Greenspan was pictured either holding his nose or trying to keep from breaking out in raucous laughter.
Here's the guy who feigned helplessness when Travelers and Citicorp issued their decree that regulations and laws, once thought to apply to all banks, were not enforceable in their case.
Here's the guy who signed on in support of changes that led to maybe half a dozen banks controlling such a large share of commercial banking that all the others combined could merge and still fail to provide competitive balance in the nationwide market.
Here's the guy who failed to mumble one word of protest when newly spawned monsters such as Wells Fargo, for example, reported first-quarter net income of $1.01 billion (61 cents a share) - which leads one to wonder whether Mr. Greenspan thinks Wells, Citigroup, Bank of America, and the like are controlled by us "lower-income" folks.
Sorry, Mr. Greenspan, that line won't sell. "Too big to fail" is still the major factor influencing "upper-income" folks when making their "upper-level" deposits. This fact, as you know, is supported by current data gathered by the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies.
Mr. McCrady, a retired trade association executive and longtime community banking advocate, lives in Eden Prairie, Minn.