What if the Fed and the TSA switched roles?

Emanuel Derman speculates what would happen if the Federal Reserve and the TSA switched roles.
If a bank failed at 9 a.m. one morning and shut its doors, the TSA would announce that all banks henceforth begin their business day at 10 a.m.

And, if a terrorist managed to get on board a plane between Stockholm and Washington, the Fed would increase the number of flights between the cities.

(Via Marginal Revolution)


  1. OK, lets try this

    If one of the banks ate the big one due to bad trading, the TSA would demand that: internet banking be suspended, bank customers only carry small change, and anyone talking about ‘debt’ or ‘foreclosure’ in the queue would be put on a “no withdrawals list”

    If a plane crashed due to a crazy person jumping the pilot the Fed would: pay the airlines to fly, but carry no passengers. Passengers would still pay for those tickets that they would not be able to use, but if they did actually want to fly they would be told they were not actually eligible to do so.

  2. Fed: Would increase the amount of passengers allowed onto planes when ticket sales are low. When ticket sales are high, they would decrease the amount of passengers allowed onto planes. If there were incidents; due to terrorists, crazy people, or just simply the norm for accidents; Bernanke would act surprised, thinking airlines would regulate themselves from preventing such a thing from happening.

    TSA: Any bank wishing to take a loan from them would be subject to anal probing. Since this is a bank, this would mean EVERYONE–from the lowest teller to CEO. If there were to be a bank failure, there would be an increase of regulations as well as an increase of interest rate. (It never goes down, thus no really wants to take a loan, but strangely does)

  3. The Fed would audit all checks written, so long as they crossed from one bank to another. All other money transfers would be unregulated, unless they felt like regulating them. The Fed could hold up any wire transfer, for any reason, for as long as they felt like it.

    The TSA would remove all aircraft safety systems in four years, because, in their learned opinion, airplane passengers are self-regulating, and no one would be stupid enough to crash a plane they were flying in, now would they? After all, there are enough examples of bad flying to dissuade anyone who didn’t know what they were doing from trying…

  4. Actually, if the Fed ran airline security, they would make arbitrary and confusing rules every few weeks (hey, just like the TSA), simultaneously tightening oversight while giving the airlines gobs of free cash and new pilots that weren’t backed by any training. They’d keep pumping these new pilots into the system to “stave off effects of a slump in air travel demand” and pass rules so that the airlines HAD to use these pilots. Then when a plane crashed, they’d scream about “de-regulation.”

    If TSA ran the money supply, well, all money would be paper (coins can be used to take over a bank), and no one would be able to do a transaction inside a bank because all pens would be removed… a teller hurt herself with one once.

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