June 30, 2014

Why does Wolfgang Münchau keep mum on the minimum minimorum Europe needs to do to lift itself out of its mess?

And here we are, and still another one of your star columnists, Wolfgang Münchau writes about how jolting Europe back to life… and does not even mention the role that bank capital requirements which discriminate against what is already discriminated against, namely what is perceived as risky, can have in paralyzing an economy, “An investment surge would jolt Europe back to life” June 30.

Münchau holds that Mr. Claude Juncker, the next president of the European Commission, “will need to create a consensus in favour of higher public investment across the EU, and he will need to find an ingenious way to finance it”.

I would wish instead for Mr. Juncker first to concentrate on enlightening the EU, that higher capital requirements for banks when lending to SMEs than when lending to the infallible sovereigns, to the housing sector or to members of the new AAAristocracy, make absolutely no sense. First because that blocks access to bank credit for those who are usually most in need of bank credit, and secondly they simply do not make sense from a pure bank stability perspective, as never ever have what is ex ante perceived as risky caused a major bank crisis.

For those who access bank credit, Basel II became the equivalent of a Kristallnacht. It launched a pogrom against the risky, for no good reason, and named the sovereign and the AAAristocracy a new Master Class, again for no good reason.