August 30, 2012

Ending bank regulatory stupidity in the US (and Europe), is a vital non-partisan issue

Sir, I refer to Conrad Black´s, “The Republicans can end 15 years of US stupidity” August 30. I would sure like to ask Mr. Black the following question: 

Suppose there was the potential of issuing trillions of dollars in “worthless real estate-backed paper certified as investment grade by the palsied lions of Wall Street”. 

What would the possibility be of that issue finding buyers if banks needed to hold 8 percent in capital against these, meaning being able to leverage their equity 12.5 to 1, instead of the 1.6 percent that was authorized by the bank regulators in Basel II, and which allowed banks to leverage 62.5 to 1? 

My answer to it would of course be: “That issue would have been almost totally unsubscribed!” That it was a tragic success, was only the result of sheer regulatory stupidity. 

If there is one thing that WMR and Mr. Ryan, or President Obama for that matter, or republicans and democrats alike, need urgently understand, is that capital requirements for banks based on perceived risk, does not only produce dangerous distortions in the markets, but is also something completely incompatible with a “Home of the Brave” (and with a Western world built with risk-taking).