The Great Depression prompted Congress to try to protect small investors by separating deposit-taking commercial banks from investment banks. Dennis K. Berman explains that, decades later, the near collapse of Bear Stearns reveals that the best way to safeguard the public may be to combine investment and commercial banks once again. "The hope would be to absorb the volatile side of investment banks with more capital and stable deposit bases," Berman writes. "It is like burying a live bomb in a sand pit."

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