July 30, 2017

On Main Street what’s perceived ultra risky, is de facto much less dangerous than what’s perceived ultra safe.

Sir, Simon Kuper writes: “The Republican plan to strip health insurance from 22m Americans (including 18m adults), it would kill about 32,700 adults annually (using the mid-range estimate). That’s gruesome. But boring old obesity kills far more.”, “How to solve the obesity epidemic” July 29.

That presents a perfect opportunity to explain again, for the umpteenth time, what regulators did wrong with their risk weighted capital requirements for banks.

They would have assigned a higher risk weight to the Republican plan, because even though it might kill less it is perceived (or decreed) as riskier, than what they would assign to what though more dangerous for society, obesity, is perceived as safer.

In Basel II, the ultra dangerous ultra safe AAA rated got a 20% risk weight, while the totally innocuous ultra risky below BB- rated got a 150% risk weight.