February 22, 2018

How long are you going to allow statist bank regulators subsidize the public sector borrowings with a zero percent risk weighting?

Sir I refer to Kate Allen’s and Chris Giles write “The total stock of OECD countries’ sovereign debt has increased from $25tn in 2008 to more than $45tn this year” “Rising tide of sovereign debt to hit rich nation budgets, warns OECD” February 23.

I do not know what the total OECD debt was in 1988, but the US public debt was t$2.6 trillion when then statist bank regulators assigned it a 0% risk weight. At end of 2017, much because of the subsidies imbedded in that 0% weight, US’s public debt was now US$20.2 trillion. It still has a 0% risk weight.

In 2004, in a letter you published I wrote: We wonder how many Basel propositions it will take before they start realizing the damage they are doing by favoring so much bank lending to the public sector. In some developing countries, access to credit for the private sector is all but gone, and the banks are up to the hilt in public credits.

I came then from a development country, Venezuela, but that comment clearly applies to the OECD too.

In December 2009, on the eve of the new decade, FT also published a letter in which I wrote: “My worst nightmare is that unmanageable Versailles-type public debts will become fertile ground for those monsters that thrive on hardships”. That nightmare is only getting worse and worse.