February 18, 2017

There must be serious consequences for regulators and controllers who fail or allow themselves to be cheated

Sir, Tim Harford writes “In the case of VW, transparency was the enemy: regulators should have been vaguer about the emissions test to prevent cheating” “How do you catch a cheat?” February 19.

What? That seems like the absolutely most certain way to produce a cheat. Or is it that Harford believes regulators and emission controllers are a different set of humans with angel like qualities? Does he not understand what kind of temptations that would create?

Sir, the greatest problem with Volkswagen cheating on US emissions tests, is that the failed emission controllers who allowed themselves to be cheated have not been publicly shamed and sent packing home. Just like the extremely failed bank regulators of the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision have not been. In fact, the latter are still working on tweaking their fundamentally wrong regulations.

If creating regulations and controlling what’s being regulated carries no consequence when failing or being cheated, things are only bound to get worse. So, should we parade Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan, Mario Draghi, Stefan Ingves and all their other bank regulating colleagues down our avenues wearing dunce caps? Why not? Do we not owe at least that to all who have suffered and will be suffering the consequences? Sincerely that seems like a very minor and gentle reprimand for all the societal damages they have caused with their risk weighted capital requirements for banks.

Sir, Harford correctly concludes though with “The truth is that the world can be messy place. When our response is a tidy structure of targets and checkboxes, the problems really begin”. Precisely! It reminds me of an Op-Ed I wrote in 1998 titled “Regulations as enemies of bank missions

PS. Sir you might ask why I here mention Paul Volcker. The truth is that he was one of the responsible for the genesis of what with time will be considered one of the greatest statist regulatory failures ever.