More Krugman – Moment of Truth – NYTimes.com.
“Let’s talk about where we are right now.
The current crisis started with a burst housing bubble, which led to widespread mortgage defaults, and hence to large losses at many financial institutions. That initial shock was compounded by secondary effects, as lack of capital forced banks to pull back, leading to further declines in the prices of assets, leading to more losses, and so on — a vicious circle of “deleveraging.” Pervasive loss of trust in banks, including on the part of other banks, reinforced the vicious circle.
The downward spiral accelerated post-Lehman. Money markets, already troubled, effectively shut down — one line currently making the rounds is that the only things anyone wants to buy right now are Treasury bills and bottled water.
The response to this downward spiral on the part of the world’s two great monetary powers — the United States, on one side, and the 15 nations that use the euro, on the other — has been woefully inadequate.
What should be done? The United States and Europe should just say “Yes, prime minister.” The British plan isn’t perfect, but there’s widespread agreement among economists that it offers by far the best available template for a broader rescue effort.”