Category Archive 'Banking'

07 May 2015

# Calculating the Impact of Dodd-Frank on Economic Growth

### Banking, Dodd-Frank, Economics, Recession

Douglas Holtz-Eakin attempts to calculate the impact of the 2010 Doddâ€“Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) on the growth of the economy.

What did Dodd-Frank do to the effective tax rate on banks? Consider, first, the burden of complying with the new regulations. The American Action Forumâ€™s analysis of the Federal Register indicates that the cumulative burden (including the market value of paperwork hours for compliance) is roughly \$14.8 billion annually. Notice that after-tax income in the presence of the burden is:

[rL â€“ C â€“ Burden](1-tB)

where r is interest on loans (L), C is the cost of acquiring funds and other operations, and tB is the tax rate on banks. Suppose that instead of a burden, the same after-tax income was generated by simply raising the tax rate to tâ€™. Then, by definition:

[rL â€“ C â€“ Burden](1-tB) = [rL â€“ C](1-tâ€™)

[which] can be re-arranged to yield:

tâ€™ = tB + (1-tB)[Burden/(rL-C)]

To put some empirical meat on [this], the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporationâ€™s (FDIC) Quarterly Banking Profile (QBP) provides information on taxes (\$67.5 billion) and net income (\$151.2 billion) that permit one to compute an initial tax rate of 31 percent. Using the AAF burden data and (11) yields an increase to 37.8 percent from compliance burdens.

A similar approach can be used to transform the roughly 2 percentage point rise in the leverage ratio of the banking sector (from 7.5 to 9.5 percent) from 2008 to 2014 into a rise in the effective tax rate. The banking sector responded to Dodd-Frank by holding more equity capital, thus require it to have greater earnings to meet the market rate of return â€“ the same impact as raising taxes. In this case, the higher leverage ratio translates into a further increase in the effective tax rate to 40.3 percent, for a total rise of 9.2 percent.

Collecting results, the impact on economic growth is a decline in the per capital growth rate of 0.059 percentage points annually. Is this a big deal? Consider lowering the growth rate in the Congressional Budget Office baseline projections by exactly this amount between 2016 and 2025. The lower rate of economic growth translates into a total loss of \$895 billion in GDP or \$3,346 for every member of the working age (16 and older) population over those 10 years.

13 Dec 2011

# Politics Sits Atop the Domestic & International Banking Systems

### Banking, Economics, Government, Recession, Regulation

lynnux notes that government regulation establishes the rules by which banks operate and even creates their opportunities for profits, but these vital economic realities come into being in the first place through the agency of politicians, people like Barney Frank, whose expertise (such as it is), and interests and concerns have no connection to economic realities or markets.

Politicians seem such busy-beavers today, â€œdoing thingsâ€ â€œforâ€ us. Why such whirling dervishes, generating laws in bulk? In its broadest outlines, law is mostly static. Politicians seek to appear to the public to be men of action â€œdoing something.â€ This leads them to make too many economic and personal choices that they are not supposed to be making â€œforâ€ us at all, picking winners and losers. It is now to the point where, famously, they no longer even read the laws they promulgate upon the body politic. Their process is finger in the wind (test the zeitgeist for what buzz evokes positives), then claim to be acting in name of the democratic will of the peopleâ€”who, like banks to regulators, can later be blamed, should anything go wrong. As a republic, not a direct democracy, our representatives are supposed to be doing the right thing, in their best judgment. We rely on their decency, wisdom, and intelligence and vision for the long term. They have no way of knowing anything about their constituency anyway, because to pollsters, people only express self-interest, not the public interest. The public interest can only be assessed at a remove, which is the representativeâ€™s job. Pollsters get whatever they fish for. Responders also like to echo conventional wisdom. Implementing conventional wisdom is not politiciansâ€™ job. …

Politicians wrapped in soundbites simply may not be qualified to make all the rules they seek to impose on us in their show of â€œcaringâ€ for us. This, I think, is what Richard Posner is getting at when he speaks of The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy. We need systems engineers today who really do understand the system. Politicians are mostly not this, but marketing specialists. They dissolve always into futile calls for infinitely ethical global governmental forces (themselves) to abolish investment uncertainty in a complicated utopian merger with perfect empirical risk analysis, forgetting that the past is no divining rod of the future (nor of truth. …

The law is being asked to make business judgments law simply should not be making at all. Law is static. Markets are not. The market will adjust to any fixed rule, changing the â€œnew normal.â€ Positive feedback loops (â€œpositiveâ€ does not imply good) can ensue, at many unexpected levels. The mediaâ€™s celebrity focus on political figure summiteering, however, follows an old trope, of suggesting to the public that our pseudo-gods and deities, through law, can command markets. These heroes then arrogantly begin to believe their press releases and to act accordingly.

Lawyers often go to law school precisely because they donâ€™t like math or statistics. The type can quite easily ignore economic reality as they proceed to plug old forms and numbers into new contexts.

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