March 11, 2013

As a bank regulator, Bernanke is neither a good nor a humble engineer

Sir, Edward Luce writes “Bernanke: a good engineer who knows his own limits” March 11. I am absolutely sure Ben Bernanke has many good attributes and he most probably acted as good as anyone could, as a central banker, in order to kick the can of a serious recession down the road; because we all know that is the most we can considered achieved, at least for the time being.

But, if are going to have a chance of economic growth vigorous enough to absorb all the QE´s and then some of the fiscal deficits still to come, we need even better and even humbler bank regulating engineers.

I say this because it is quite clear, at least from what we could read in the recently released transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee of 2007, that this particular engineer, Bernanke, was not even aware of or did not understand how capital requirements for banks, based on credit information already digested by the markets and the banks, causes immense distortions.

And those distortions, more capital when lending to "The Risky" than when lending to "The Infallible", is making it much harder than usual to access bank credit, for those extremely important economic agents who act on the margins of the real economy, and who almost as a norm belong to "The Risky".

Current bank regulators, with their not so humble expectations of being able to deliver “safe” bank lending are helping to turn the world into a more dangerous place. Their bank diet, which promotes bank lending to the AAAristocracy and to the “infallible” sovereigns, and constrains lending to "The Risky", can only cause economic obesity and none of the vigor and sturdiness we need.

And that Mr. Bernanke seems unable to understand, just like Edward Luce, and just like you Sir.

“Helicopter Ben”? We wish! At this moment it seems more like "Drone-with-a-bad-guidance-system Ben"