Things I Must Make Time to Think About—David Frum
George Soros's op-ed in today's Financial Times offering an alternative plan to save the Euro:
My proposal is to use the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism to insure the ECB against the solvency risk on any newly issued Italian or Spanish treasury bills they may buy from commercial banks. This would allow the European Banking Authority to treat the T-bills as the equivalent of cash, since they could be sold to the ECB at any time. Banks would then find it advantageous to hold their surplus liquidity in the form of T-bills as long as these bills yielded more than bank deposits held at the ECB. Italy and Spain would then be able to refinance their debt at close to the deposit rate of the ECB, which is currently 1 per cent on mandatory reserves and 25 basis points on excess reserve accounts. This would greatly improve the sustainability of their debt. Italy, for instance, would see its average cost of borrowing decline rather than increase from the current 4.3 per cent. Confidence would gradually return, yields on outstanding bonds would decline, banks would no longer be penalised for owning Italian government bonds and Italy would regain market access at more reasonable interest rates.