There was a day, for all of us – that first time – when someone had to spell it out for us. What LOL means. What YMMV stands for. Why WTF does NOT stand for “why the face?”
In our next debate, on October 16, here is the one to know: TBTF.
Which could, conceivably, stand for: Totally Better Than France. Or, Tripping Breaks the Fingernails. Or, Tiny Buffalos Tire Fast.
But no, here it is for the uninitiated: TBTF, which in the context of Washington and Wall Street, signifies Too Big To Fail.
The term applies especially now, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, where the taxpayer paid dearly to create a fund to rescue banks that are so big that they can't be allowed to fail. The premise is if one or two of those big guys goes down, they will take everyone else with them.
Which brings us to next Wednesday, where our motion is: Break Up the Big Banks. This is not language we pulled out of thin air. Take a look below and you'll see some very serious players in finance are already advocating this position. Some of them will be on our stage, including the president and CEO of a federal reserve bank. But there's pushback, too, and it's well reasoned and deeply thought out, which is what our debates are about.
TBTF? Now you know. And if you can find some other meaning in those letters, leave us a comment below: witty is good. We'll pick the best and announce them from the stage. See you Wednesday.
John Donvan, Moderator
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates
JOHN DONVAN RECOMMENDS
VANQUISHING TOO BIG TO FAIL
"The solution for ending ‘too big to fail’ is not bigger government but smaller, unsubsidized banking institutions..."
LET'S RELAX, AND NOT BREAK UP THE BIG BANKS
"We should not lose sight of the real economic advantages to having at least a few large U.S. banks..."