Government Needs to just Butt Out

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing to include municipal bonds in bank-safety rules, the latest wrinkle in a continuing fight over how safe—and salable—the debt of states and localities would be in another financial crisis.

The proposed regulation would “allow” banks to include municipal bonds on their balance sheets in the category—mandated by existing rules requiring banks to have sufficient (government’s definition) cash to fund operations for 30 days in the next “financial crisis.”  The proposed regulation also specifies the safety rating for those munis: the banking rules’ “high quality liquid assets” category, albeit at the lowest level of “high quality.”

So Chicago’s bonds should be on a par with Dallas’.

No.  These are decisions—every single one of them, the definition of “sufficient,” of “crisis,” whether to include munis as high quality assets, even whether to count munis as assets at all—are best made by banks and by businesses generally in a free market, not made by Government from the center of a government-managed economy.

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