Friday, November 18, 2016

Jeb Hensarling asks: How we can make the economy work for working people? Here’s my answer:

Jeb Hensarling, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee asks: How we can make the economy work for working people

Here’s my answer:

Get rid of the risk-weighted capital requirements for banks!

These only distort the allocation of bank credit to the real economy.

These only help finance the “safe” basements where jobless kids can live with their parents but not the “risky” new job creation they would need to afford to become parents too. 

These stop banks from financing the risky future and make these only refinance the "safer" past and present.

Where would America, the Home of the Brave, have been if its banks had been subjected all the time to this type of regulatory risk aversion?

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” John A Shedd, 1850-1926

The risk weighting has de facto decreed inequality

God make us daring!

Besides it is all for nothing. Bank crisis are caused by unexpected events, criminal behavior and excessive exposures to what was ex ante perceived as very safe when placed on the banks’ balance sheets, but that ex post turned out to be very risky. Never ever are bank crisis the result from excessive exposures to what was ex ante perceived as risky. May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies” Voltaire

Now, if you are rightly concerned that getting rid of the risk weighting would initially create such bank capital shortages that it would put a serious squeeze on credit; then grandfather the current capital requirements for all their current assets, and apply a fixed percentage, like for instance 8%, on all new assets… including public debt, since a 0% risk weight for the Sovereign and 100% for We the People seems to me, I beg your pardon, an insult to your Founding Fathers.

Finally, if regulators absolutely must distort, so as to think they earn their salaries, may I suggest they use job-creation and environmental-sustainability ratings instead of credit ratings, which are anyhow already cleared for by banks.