"One thing we cannot do very well is forecast the economy. The recent crisis and recession caught most economists flat-footed. This is nothing new. We have never been good at foretelling the future, but when the news is favorable, others forgive our lack of prescience".Det er naturligvis mange, der forsøger at forudsige den økonomiske udvikling. Enkelte vil ramme rigtigt og i en nedtur blive berømte (dette er nok en indirekte reference til Peter Schiff), men det er ikke muligt at vide, hvem der vil få ret på forhånd.
Der er ikke bedre håb for ny finansiel regulering. Mankiw fortæller, hvordan han som formand for Council of Economic Advisors (2003-05) under præsident George W. Bush forsøgte at ændre reglerne for Fannie Mae og Freddie Mac. Mankiw var bekymret for, at disse halvoffentlige institutter var for tyndt kapialiseret (hvilket viste sig at være rigtigt). Mankiw var ikke alene med denne bekymring. Den var delt af centralbankchef Alan Greenspan og økonomer fra Clinton administrationen. (Og Bush administrationen forsøgte faktisk at ændre reglerne flere gange). Men:
"Why was nothing done? Many members of Congress were worried less about financial fragility than about expanding access to homeownership. Moreover, lobbyists from these companies assured Congress that there was no real problem, while the sheer complexity of these institutions made it hard for legislators to appreciate the enormity of the risks.
I recount this story not because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the main cause of the recent financial crisis — they were only one element — but because it shows the kind of problem we’ll encounter on a larger scale as we reform oversight of the financial system."Mankiw finder, at det er helt urealistisk at tro, at større regulering og nye organer vil kunne forhindre nye kriser:
"Whatever we do, let’s not be overoptimistic about how successful improved oversight will be. The financial system is diverse and vastly complicated. Government regulators will always be outnumbered and underpaid compared with those whose interest it is to circumvent the regulations. Legislators will often be distracted by other priorities. To believe that the government will ever become a reliable watchdog would be a tragic mistake".Mankiw mener, at den bedste vej frem at øge kapitalen i finansielle institutioner med indskydergaranti:
"MY favorite proposal is to require banks, and perhaps a broad class of financial institutions, to sell contingent debt that can be converted to equity when a regulator deems that these institutions have insufficient capital. This debt would be a form of preplanned recapitalization in the event of a financial crisis, and the infusion of capital would be with private, rather than taxpayer, funds. Think of it as crisis insurance".