Browsing all articles tagged with policymaker
May
11

ECB Says Has Tools Left to Act if Required

ECB policymakers said that European Central Bank still has room to plan should the euro zone economy persistent to worsen following it cut interest rates to a new record low previous week. The ECB cut its main rate to 0.5 percent previous Thursday.

Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB’s six-man Executive Board stated the bank still had tools at its disposal, however added that it could only spur lending to small euro zone companies in combination with other European institutions.

Joerg Asmussen stated the ECB had an open mind about what it could do to renew lending to small and medium-sized enterprises known as SMEs a growing concern for the central bank, principally in the crisis-stricken periphery countries.

Mersch said in a panel discussion in the northern German city of Aachen that we still have tools in our toolbox we are not a toothless tiger.

The ECB stated previous week it had set up a task force with the European Investment Bank known as EIB to assess ways to unblock lending to SMEs, for example by supporting a market for asset-backed securities known as ABS based on SME loans. ABS would permit banks to pass some credit risk on to other investors, enabling them up to lend more.

The move to promote ABS is controversial mainly in Germany, because during the financial crisis such securities became toxic due to the default of housing loans that underpinned them.

We have an open mind to seem at all things that we can do within our mandate and this relates to how can the market for asset backed securities, particularly backed by SME loans, be revitalized in Europe.

Asmussen was responding to a question regarding a Wednesday article in German newspaper Die Welt, which cited a central bank source as saying a majority of ECB Governing Council members seemed to be in support of the central bank buying ABSs itself.

May
11

Tax Officials Cite Momentum, Challenges in Tax Revamp

Two US policymakers from opposed ends of the political spectrum on Friday stated thrust is building for a top-to-bottom revamp of the tax code, however the largest question is whether there is political will to get it done.

Mark Prater, a long-time Republican Senate tax counsel and Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, cited major policy proposals and two years of public hearings and private meetings that have set the foundation for the first rewrite of the code since 1986.

Mazur, who is Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s top policy aide on tax issues, said this year the stars are aligned for tax reform in a way they haven’t been, he and Prater spoke at a legal conference in Washington, at the moment it is just a matter of political will.

The two top tax writing lawmakers expect to push legislation through Congress this year to lower most tax rates and simplify the code that many Americans regard as far too complex.

They may have more political liberty to write a bill as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, is retiring following this term and House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp a Republican is term-limited as chairman.

President Barack Obama says he backs tax reform, while some have said it does not appear to be high on his agenda.

Mazur accepted there are tons of obstacles, including the divide between the parties on whether the tax reforms should produce more revenue. Democrats generally favor doing this as Republicans do not.

Prater, a tax policy aide to Senator Orrin Hatch the senior Finance Committee Republican, agreed energy is building. One advantage he quoted is the January 1 fiscal deal that lifts taxes on Americans making more than $400,000 a year and also established a budget baseline both parties agree on.

Prater said that the playing field is a lot clearer concerning where we are starting from.

He said on the question of whether a tax renovate should lift revenue, that to me is actually a political question that comes down to what the other pieces of the picture are.