Thursday, August 19, 2010

Press Briefing

Aug 20, 2010

Update: U.S. Response to Pakistan's Flooding Disaster

The Lockerbie Bomber and Scotland's Disgrace - A political stunt freed a mass murderer and brought needless grief to many in the US

Bashing Beijing Will Not Help Our Trade Deficit - Higher wages, not a stronger yuan, will help Chinese workers and reduce US imports

State Dept: A Critical Milestone in Iraq

The SEC's Jersey Score - At last, a state gets hit for securities fraud

Seniors Already Seeing Lower Prescription Drug Costs

More Countrywide Loans - What Senate ethicists didn't tell us on Dodd

Remarks by the President at a Discussion with Ohio Families on the Economy

Victory in Iraq  -American arms created a republic, if Iraqis can keep it

An assessment of the long-term economic impact of stronger capital and liquidity requirements
FSB & BCBS, August 2010

The Basel Committee's assessment of the long-term economic impact finds that there are clear net long term economic benefits from increasing the minimum capital and liquidity requirements from their current levels in order to raise the safety and soundness of the global banking system. The benefits of higher capital and liquidity requirements accrue from reducing the probability of financial crisis and the output losses associated with such crises. The benefits substantially exceed the potential output costs for a range of higher capital and liquidity requirements.

The FSB-BCBS MAG assessment of the macroeconomic transition costs, prepared in close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, concludes that the transition to stronger capital and liquidity standards is likely to have a modest impact on aggregate output. If higher requirements are phased in over four years, the group estimates that each one percentage point increase in bank's actual ratio of tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets will lead to a decline in the level of GDP relative to its baseline path by about 0.20% after implementation is completed.  In terms of growth rates, this means that the annual growth rate would be reduced by an average of 0.04 percentage points over a four and a half year period, with a range of results around these point estimates. A 25% increase in liquid asset holdings is found to have an output effect less than half that associated with a one-percentage point increase in capital ratios. The projected impacts arise mainly from banks passing on higher costs to borrowers, which results in a slowdown in investment. A two-year implementation period leads to a slightly larger reduction from the baseline path, with the trough occurring after two and a half years, while extending the implementation period beyond four years makes little difference. In all of these estimates, GDP returns to its baseline path in subsequent years.

Winning the Peace in Iraq - The last American combat troops left Iraq this week. But when 'Operation New Dawn' begins on Sept. 1, the U.S. will still have a vital mission—and interests—there

Get Ready for Ads in Books

Proposal to ensure the loss absorbency of regulatory capital at the point of non-viability - consultative document

Press Briefing

Aug 19, 2010

Update: U.S. Response to Pakistan's Flooding Disaster

Barney Frank to Fannie Mae: Drop Dead - Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles

Barney Frank has been all over the airwaves this week with a clear and—we never thought we'd say this—perfectly sound message about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: "They should be abolished."

Well, praise be. Two years ago next month, then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson put the two government-sponsored mortgage-finance giants into conservatorship, and Congressman Frank declared himself pleased that there was a good chance, according to government bean-counters, that the rescue wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime. Also at the time, Mr. Frank scoffed at the Bush Administration's view that Fan and Fred should be wound down, saying it would never happen. One and a half trillion dimes ($149 billion) later, Mr. Frank appears to have seen the light.

Recall that in 2007 Mr. Frank had complained that the reason Fannie and Freddie hadn't been reformed earlier was "the insistence of some economic conservative fundamentalists in the Bush Administration who, to be honest, don't think there should be a Fannie Mae or a Freddie Mac." Welcome aboard, Barney.

In another sign that he's an avid reader of these columns, Mr. Frank even told Fox Business, "If we want to subsidize housing then we could do it upfront and let the budget be clear about that." That is certainly a more honest way to subsidize housing and makes us think we don't write in vain.

We prefer no subsidy for homeownership, not least because the painful experience of the last 40 years is that such policies lead to boom and bust and awful economic harm. Canada has neither a Fannie Mae nor a mortgage-interest tax deduction, and yet its homeownership rate is higher than America's. The homebuilder-Realtor-mortgage banker lobby will object, which is no doubt why Treasury chief Tim Geithner continued to call for some federal role in guaranteeing mortgages at his housing finance gabfest this week. But that road inevitably leads to the Son of Fannie.

The housing reform debate is only beginning, but for now we'll associate ourselves with Mr. Frank's view that if Congress wants to subsidize housing, it ought to do so directly out of annual appropriations, allocating dollars in open and transparent fashion against other priorities.

Assessing the macroeconomic impact of the transition to stronger capital and liquidity requirements - Interim Report

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Financial Stability Board set up the Macroeconomic Assessment Group (MAG) to assess the macroeconomic effects of the transition to strengthened capital and liquidity regulations. The MAG comprises economic modelling experts from central banks and other authorities. In its Interim Report, the MAG concludes that, for each percentage point increase in the target capital ratio implemented over a four-year horizon, the level of GDP relative to the baseline path declines by a maximum of about 0.19%. The maximum GDP loss occurs four and a half years after the start of implementation, after which GDP recovers towards its baseline path. The associated rise in banks' lending rates would amount to about 15 basis points for each percentage point increase in capital. These costs will slowly dissipate during and after the phase-in, returning GDP to the path it would have followed in the absence of the changes. The impact of the new regulatory framework on specific national financial systems will depend on current levels of capital and liquidity in those systems, and on the consequences of changes to the definitions used in calculating the relevant regulatory ratios. These results imply that the reforms proposed by the Basel Committee are likely to have, at most, a modest impact on aggregate output, provided that appropriate transition arrangements are in place.

Deconstructing Harry Reid - The Senate majority leader's inexplicable desire to debate taxes in September

Somalia: Frozen Warfare in Mogadishu

Blagojevich 23, Fitzgerald 1 - Chicago's jester politician humiliates the Justice Department