November 22, 2017

If Martin Wolf wants to help the poor at the bottom, why does he not help me arguing for getting rid of the risk weighted capital requirements for banks?

Sir, Martin Wolf, morphing into an activist, describes the Republican tax plan as “a determined effort to shift resources from the bottom, middle and even upper middle of the US income distribution towards the very top, combined with big increases in economic insecurity for the great majority”, “The Republican tax plan built for plutocrats”, November 22.

But, since Wolf refuses to discuss the distortions caused by bank regulators, let me here ask him, in quite similar terms: What is the risk weighted capital requirements for banks if not something that stops the “risky” bottom, middle and even upper middle of the US income distribution, from accessing those opportunities of bank credit that could help to propel them upwards?

Day-by-day it is becoming clearer to me that Martin Wolf is just another statist that thinks it is just great that sovereigns are 0% risk weighted and unrated citizens 100%.

I agree of course with Wolf in that “the reductions in corporation tax will [not] lead to a big rise in business investment”. But that, among others, is precisely because the regulators have seriously damaged one of the primary transmission channels of freed resources, namely bank credit.

What is not clear to me though is to what Wolf refers to when arguing that the rich will benefit more from tax cuts. Does he mean in paid US$ in taxes? Because if so I would say it is quite natural that anyone who is paying more $ taxes will pay less taxes when taxes are cut.

We read: “In the more cautious Senate version, households with incomes below $75,000 would be worse off.” Does Wolf want to imply these would now have to pay more in taxes? If so, I am totally on his side on this issue… but I sort of doubt that. $75,000 sounds like a quite normal civil service salary, and you usually don’t go after you own, on any side of the aisle.