September 22, 2012

Must Michele Obama explain the causes and dangers of obesity to Ben Bernanke and bank regulators ? And to FT?

Sir, in your “Bernanke’s gamble is no free lunch”, September 22, you mention the possibility of QE’s diminishing returns, which would lead us into uncharted waters. Of course, QEs, and other stimulus, are dangerous, if not productive and self-sustainable. It is as easy as that. 

Sadly though, the QEs and other more traditional stimulus are now all bound to be unproductive, since banks, because of the way they are regulated, will mostly re-channel any new funds into holding assets perceived as “not-risky”, as these do not require from the banks much of that now so very scarce bank equity. 

What is missing in the debate, and FT's silence on that is almost embarrassing, is the fact that an economy needs “risky” loans to generate both its vitality and its flexibility. Inducing our banks to take cover in what is ex ante deemed as “not-risky”, only guarantees a type of economic flabbiness as well as a structural fragility. 

It is all like sending the kids out to play telling them “You can only eat the pastries ("infallible" sovereigns) and the well certified by your Aunt Moody hot dogs (AAA-rated), because I do not really know who cooked the vegetables (small businesses and entrepreneurs)”. 

Sir, must we call on Michele Obama to explain to Ben Bernanke and bank regulators (and FT) the causes and the dangers of obesity? 

For the umpteenth time, please understand that we need those perceived as “risky” to have access to bank credit, on terms free of regulatory discrimination.

Witless risk-adverse bank regulators are unwittingly destroying our economies. We urgently need regulators and bankers capable of "reasoned audacity"!