Former Fed Official William Poole: Bank bailouts are 'grossly unfair'

As a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, William Poole has a highly informed view of the Fed and the kinds of problems it has to grapple with. Right now, Poole says, the biggest challenge facing the U.S. economy is the "too-big-to-fail' issue." The government has taken on an "absolutely stunning increase in implicitly guaranteed assets," Poole says. "How good the guarantee is, remains to be seen."

"Before the financial crisis, there was some ambiguity about how far 'too big to fail' stretched to the banks," says Poole, who served as president of the St. Louis Fed bank from 1998 through 2008. "I don't think there was ever the expectation in the market that investment banks would be bailed out."