mencken“When five sound banks,” said the Hon. Mr. Landon, “must pay the loss of one rotten one, the drain on the five necessarily impairs their strength. One of them breaks under the strain and the remaining four are weakened by the added strain, and so on.” … The federal insurance scheme has worked up to now simply and solely because there have been very few bank failures. The next time we have a pestilence of them it will come to grief quickly enough, and if the good banks escape ruin along with the bad ones it will be only because the taxpayer foots the bill. …

What is to be done about crooked banks, nitwit banks, bad banks in general? The problem seems to be beyond the capacities of American legislators, for every solution they have arrived at in the past has turned out, in the light of experience to be no solution at all.”

H.L.Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, June 22, 1936