February 20, 2017

When and how did the Fed, as a regulator, obtain permission to distort the allocation of bank credit in the US?

Sir, Wolfgang Münchau writes that the letter from Patrick McHenry, the vice-chairman of the US House of Representatives to Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal “questioned the right of the chair of the Federal Reserve to negotiate financial stability rules “among global bureaucrats in foreign lands without . . . the authority to do so.” “Central bank independence is losing its lustre” February 20.

That is a perfectly valid questions that the Fed, if everything was as it should be, should be able to answer with ease in a very straightforward way.

On February 15, Janet Yellen during an interpellation by the House Financial Services Committee answered with that nothing in the international negotiations is binding on US regulatory agencies, unless it goes through a due rule making process. Does that mean like the US signing up, even promoting agreements like Basel I and Basel II, is just for show and bears little meaning?

But, McHenry’ letter or question during the interpellation would have been so much firmer and direct to the point if he had asked: 

Where did the Federal Reserve obtain the right to, with risk weighted capital requirements for banks, so fundamentally distort the allocation of bank credit to the real economy in America?

Followed up with: Where did the Federal Reserve obtain the right to come up with risk weights such as: Sovereign 0%, AAA-risktocracy 20%, residential houses 35%, We the People, like unrated SMEs and entrepreneurs 100%, and below BB-rated 150%?

Followed up with: Who authorized you to impose risk aversion in the Home of the Brave?

Followed up with: Sovereign 0%, We the People 100%: Who authorized you to impose such statism on the Land of the Free? 

That said, the US Congress should also not be allowed to claim too much ignorance about the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision and its regulations, since quite a lot of it has been publicly discussed. Therefore a letter to the House of Representatives could also ask: How come, in the 848 pages of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Basel Committee is not mentioned once?