June 16, 2017

Children, no matter what the redistributors promise, you cannot redistribute the future before it’s been created

Sir, Martin Wolf writes: “A case can be made for borrowing for high-quality investment, especially when real interest rates are so low… But the increased spending needs to be paid for by effective and efficient taxation… What is needed is honesty: the country can choose to raise spending. But, if it wants to run a sound fiscal policy, this will mean substantially higher taxes” “Austerity is dead. Long live austerity” June 16

Honesty? Are the low real interest rates on sovereign debt for true, or are these not much a function, an illusion, caused by the regulatory subsidies to sovereigns? Does a 0% risk weight for the sovereign, and a 100% for unrated citizens, which is what the Basel Committee’s standardized risk weights establish, really mean nothing when it comes to allocating bank credit to the real economy?

Yes, it would clearly have been better to launch different “high-quality” public investment programs, than that dumb kicking the crisis can down the road program financed with Tarps, QEs and what have you.

But, just like saying “risk-weighted” does not mean it has really been risk weighted, saying “high-quality” does not signify for one moment that it will be of “high-quality”. In fact, all around the world, what we continuously see is a reduction in the capacity of governments to deliver high-quality investments. Could that be because of their 0% risk weight, they are now less forced to do so?

Wolf also writes: “a quarter of Labour’s promised increase in spending goes to eliminate student debt, while leaving universities far worse off. This is an irresponsible and regressive benefit in favour of future winners.” Here again remember, mentioning “future winners”, does not guarantee one iota the students will be the future winners.

You young, please, don’t listen to siren songs. The future, no matter what the redistribution profiteers promise you, cannot be redistributed before it’s been created.

PS. Students, If you want universities to better help you be future winners, pay them 50% of what they actually charge you, with some basis points in you future earnings.