Mar 31

Past Event

Facing—and Fixing—"Too Big to Fail"

Event Materials



  • Gary Stern

    Stern says financial institutions must be more judicious and disciplined and accept the notion that they will have to bear consequences for their actions.

  • Gary Stern

    Stern likens the financial crisis to rapidly rising water, saying policy-makers were not prepared for the too big to fail flood of bailouts we now face.

  • Alan Greenspan

    Greenspan asserts that unfair competition among financial firms is a primary reason why some institutions become too big to fail.

  • Alan Greenspan

    Greenspan says that a financial crisis is a discontinuity in asset prices over a short period of time and asserts that such incidents can’t be forecasted.

  • Vincent Reinhart

    Reinhart says policy-makers must examine their reasons for shoring up failing financial institutions.


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As public outrage grows over the distribution of bonuses to employees at private firms being bailed out by the government, many are asking questions about the inevitability of some financial firms being "too big to fail" and the consequences of propping up firms at any cost.

On March 31, the Initiative on Business and Public Policy at Brookings hosted a public event with Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Gary H. Stern and Vice President Ron J. Feldman, authors of the book Too Big to Fail: The Hazards of Bank Bailouts (Brookings Institution Press, revised paperback, 2009). Brookings Senior Fellow Martin Baily, who directs the Business Initiative, moderated a panel discussion following the authors’ remarks. The panel included former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

After the program, speakers took audience questions.

Related Article:

The Bankers Who Warned About 'Too Big To Fail'

Event Agenda

  • Welcome

  • Presentation

    • Gary H. Stern

      President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

    • Ron Feldman

      Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

  • Panel Discussion

    • Portrait: Martin Baily

      Martin Neil Baily

      Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

      Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development

    • Ron Feldman

      Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

    • Alan Greenspan

      President, Greenspan Associates

    • Vincent R. Reinhart

      Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

    • Gary H. Stern

      President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis


March 31, 2009

9:15 AM - 11:30 AM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105