August 19, 2014

Philipp Hildebrand, unfortunately ECB’s Mario Draghi is too busy covering up for his own mistakes to have time for Europe.

Sir, Philipp Hildebrand writes “QE would merely enable governments to borrow even more cheaply, giving recalcitrant politicians an easy way out”, “The Fed´s regimen will not remedy Europe´s ill” August 19.

And you know that is completely in line with what I have been writing you letters about for about a decade now. And I say this because in my letter of November 18, 2004, one which you did publish, thanks for that, I wrote: “Our bank supervisors in Basel are unwittingly controlling the capital flows in the world…How many Basel propositions will it take before they start realizing the damage they are doing by favoring so much bank lending to the public sector?

Hildebrand also writes “There will be no robust European growth without properly capitalized European banks…Swift action is essential to rectify any capital shortfalls that are discovered [after] comprehensive assessment of eurozone banks”. And he also mentions the “distortions will ultimately lead capital to flow into mispriced financial assets, instead of financing investment in new productive capacity.”

Hildebrand is right but, unfortunately, he ignores or forgets, first, that those comprehensive assessment do not include analyzing what should have been on eurozone balance sheets, like loans to SMEs, and second, that when he writes “Mario Draghi is right to prioritize fixing the banks”, the sad truth is that Draghi, as a former chairman of the Financial Stability Board, is too busy covering up his responsibilities in creating the current mess to have time for Europe.

PS. The day I write the book on how my arguments about how faulty and dangerous risk-weighted capital requirements for banks are were ignored by FT, and by many of its columnists and reporters, your prime line of defense will be exactly the same as the Basel Committee´s, namely people finding it hard to believe some “experts” can be as dumb as that. Am I impolite? Come on, I was extremely polite, outright nice, for years.