No, the two cannot be compared for many reasons. First off lets talk about the difference in scale. Iceland/US ~ 1/1000, 0.001, 0.1%. In other words Iceland's GDP is about half the size of our smallest State's GDP, which is Vermont at $26B, and is also about half the population of Vermont's with Iceland at ~320k and US at ~310M. The shear number of people effected by any trouble with the respective economies is so different you simply can't put them in the same box.Is Iceland an example of what we should have done?
Next, I don't know of anyone except Iceland that cares too much one way or the other about the value of the króna - and even they have good fall back currencies like the Euro and, of course, the ubiquitous American dollar. There are many perks that the US enjoys by having the base global currency, perks that we would lose if the dollar became really unstable for even a short time.
The last difference is the national impact of having Citibank, Bank of America, or Chase shut down for even a day - and it would probably take more than a day for all the financial balls to stop bouncing to create a good cut-off. What happens to the small business that needs it's financial connection to make payroll? Or Mom&Pop who depend on one of those banks for their daily business? Or the private contractor? Or you and me? Which of us could actually do without making any financial transactions for a few days?
I guess the bottom line is simple for me. If we had not allowed the investment banks to merge with the savings banks there wouldn't have been a problem. We could have let the investment banks fail and it wouldn't have had a huge impact on the economy. As it is, we're still living with this obviously flawed system - and we need to do something about that before it happens again. It's past time to get back to having separate investment banks and savings banks once again.