"After pretending an unwonted firmness for a few weeks, the central banks in both Britain and the United States caved this week, accepting financial sector bailouts and in the Fed’s case lowering interest rates. Moral hazard has thus been made immoral certainty; financial market participants who indulge in grossly speculative activity can be “highly confident” (in the words of the old Drexel Burnham commitment letters) that they will be bailed out by the public sector, i.e. ultimately by the taxpayer. Rarely has there been such an obvious subsidy of the overpaid by the beleaguered. It raises the question: what if anything is the point of central banks in the new world we have entered? "

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