What entered the crisis was, we now know, an ill-managed, irresponsible, highly concentrated and undercapitalised financial sector, riddled with conflicts of interest and benefiting from implicit state guarantees. What is emerging is a slightly better capitalised financial sector, but one even more concentrated and benefiting from explicit state guarantees. This is not progress: it has to mean still more and bigger crises in the years ahead. ... Today, the core financial institutions are, beyond doubt, a part of the state. ... The most important point is that where we are now is intolerable. Today’s concentrations of state-insured private wealth and power must surely go.
And this from Michael Pomerleano in Wolf's FT Forum (HT Mark Thoma):
In 2008, salaries of the top 10 banks reached $75 billion (up from $31 billion in 1999), while cash dividends to shareholders were only $17.5 billion. Management took 4.3 times more than shareholders at a time when shareholders were injecting capital and government was guaranteeing deposits. He pointed to the critical principal-agent fiduciary problem. Essentially, financial sector losses will be paid for by future taxation (large fiscal debt) or inflation.
The bottom line here is that we are already collectively paying (through the nose) to support the financial sector and will continue to do so. This is a scale of state subsidy that is surely unparalleled in the West. And the ultimate irony of course is that the beneficiaries of our largesse continue to kid themselves that they are "innovating" and "creating wealth", embodying the free market spirit!