"Low rates won't do anything to handle the real issue for these companies, which is solvency."
William Poole, former president, St. Louis Federal Reserve
After predicting in 2002 that Fannie and Freddie couldn't handle the strains of a credit crisis, Poole saw his prophecies come true on Sept. 7 when the government stepped in to bail out the lenders. According to Poole, that bailout, coupled with the Bear Stearns rescue, made a Lehman save all the more difficult. "Barclay and Bank of America asking for federal assistance--that never would have happened before," he says. "But the Fed made the right decision this time."
Poole is less pleased with the Fed's strategy of keeping rates low. "I don't understand the case for it," he says. "It's not good federal policy to simply respond to declines in the stock market, and I'm concerned about inflation in the long run."
NEXT: The investor