A Guide to What ‘Too Big to Fail’ Means

Big banks say the plethora of rules that President Barack Obama has imposed on them is so heavy that the whole economy will suffer. Challenger Mitt Romney says the rules are “the biggest kiss that’s been given to New York banks I’ve ever seen.”

Mr. Obama says the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law has outlawed taxpayer bailouts of big banks. Mr. Romney’s advisers say the law has so entrenched big banks that markets now deem them permanently “too big to fail,” almost guaranteeing another rescue.

They can’t all be right. A guide for the perplexed:

Big U.S. banks are bigger than before the financial crisis.



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