Monday, March 9, 2009

March 9: Too Big Not To Fail?

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The expression "Too Big To Fail" has been bandied about as the primary reason behind government bailouts of various major companies.

But what if their size is a reason for their current troubles?

One only needs to look at the large companies that grew and grew, and are now out of business (Circuit City, as of yesterday), filing for bankruptcy (you name it) or laying off employees by the thousands (General Motors, for which bankruptcy may be the next step). Then, there are the major media companies......

During the 1990s and even the early part of this decade, many of them grew big. But they didn't grow smart, with sizable companies gobbling up smaller ones at will and others ( Starbucks) opening seemingly on every block. Except for a brief time in 2001-02 in the wake of the crisis at Enron, there has been no oversight.

So far, there has not been enough of a push for oversight from Congress, which is still lambasting CEOs for their excesses, but hasn't said or done enough about tightening regulations on everything from housing to banking to how big Big Business gets.

The bailout idea is starting to get old; it no longer sustains Wall Street, and Main Street is sick of hearing about it.

One of the ways to clean up the mess is exactly that - clean up. Reforming how businesses acquire and manage each other would be a good start. We're finding out that these collapsing companies were too big NOT to fail.

No comments: