May 19, 2009

Please, may we have a small but growing capital charge on governments?

Sir if your bank lends your government 100 pounds then it is not required to have any equity but, if it lends that amount to your unrated neighbour, then it has to put up 8 pounds in equity. That might sound very reasonable to you I do not know your neighbour, but be sure that in the long term it will just mean we will all end up more and more entangled in the web of the government.
In this respect when we read Aline van Duyn and Francesco Guerrera report in “Geithner plan fuels cost fears”, May 19, that “companies face capital charges against hedges” one wonders when they will start imposing some capital charges on what seem runaway governments. A small increasing capital charge on anything to do with governments is probably an essential element to help stimulate the banks into lending more to the private sector again.