“Why is this so damn hard and takes so damn long?”
Mr. Jon Stewart (in June 2019 testimony (https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/06/11/watch-jon-stewart-lashes-out-at-congress-over-9-11-victims-fund/) at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, a part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act)
[Ultimately, the bill was passed and signed into law, but what about those issues that lack powerful champions like Jon Stewart?]
The failure that frustrated Jon Stewart represents a small part of my exasperation with the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) and all its chairmen. The United States government has decided to starve 90 percent of the population while supporting the top 10 percent.
In addition, the system props up the gambling casino known as Wall Street despite the fact that 10 percent of the richest U.S. families own 84 percent of all U.S. stocks. Your Tealbook focuses nearly all of the text on Wall Street; the wreckage of the Fed is made manifest.
A Note on the COVID-19 Coronavirus Crisis and Epic Congressional Leadership Failure
To prevent what is termed “community spread“, state and local governments have been enforcing quarantines or social distancing to try to reduce the numbers of people who fall seriously ill.
Office workers have been sent home to telework; other businesses where people gather (restaurants, bars, gyms, and so on) have been closed. Some have been required to stay home most of the time, except for essential activity–work at a job where physical presence is needed, medical appointment, and so on) The people who work at the closed businesses are immediately out of work with bills pending to be paid and sometimes with families to feed and to care for.
What is needed now is radical government support for people who are scared of becoming ill and now are extremely concerned about how they will pay their bills.
Senator Bernard Sanders (I-Vermont), a presidential primary candidate, has up to this time in 2020, has not been achieving enough delegates to win the Democratic Party nomination. The Coronavirus crisis burst forth in the midst of primary season.
Senator Sanders presented a comprehensive proposal to help the country and its people move through the public-health and financial catastrophe.
The Trump Administration, had a proposal to give out a $2,000 check to people in the United States. (Senator Sanders proposed sending $2,000 per month until the crisis is over.) Democratic Congressional leadership opposed universal cash payments for various reasons.
Indeed, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supported a tax credit plan along the lines presented in the Senate Republican’s initial bill. (Pelosi did not want a universal distribution of checks (that is, according to Jeff Spross in The Week she did not want to be seen handing out checks to millionaires.)
In technical economic jargon, Pelosi wants to “means test” cash aid in response to coronavirus: Don’t give the checks to everyone, but target them to the poorest people, by at least scaling up the checks for people further down the income ladder, or most likely phasing them out completely for Americans above a certain income threshold. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, fleshed this point out further in a tweet: “The Speaker believes we should look at refundable tax credits, expanded [unemployment insurance] and direct payments — but MUST be targeted.”Jeff Spross, The Week, Democrats’ Destructive Obsession with Means Testing
Speaker Pelosi and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), issued a statement:
Democrats support a plan that puts ‘Workers First’. That means taking bold action to help workers and small businesses first by greatly increasing unemployment insurance and Medicaid, making massive investments to help small businesses survive, expanding paid sick and family leave and putting money directly into the hands of those who need it most.Speaker Pelosi and Charles Schumer, https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/31920-2
Joseph Biden, Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, proposes a plan that esssentially expands or adjusts existing programs to deal with the crisis, along the lines presented by Pelosi and Schumer.
When you have a widespread public health crisis, requiring businesses to close and people to stay at home, a mere proposal to expand (skimpy in the best of times–not now) unemployment insurance and only place cash in the hands of the destitute is at best myopic.
Senate Republicans, announced a proposal that does not help struggling people (who I spoke about in this post–see subsection titled “The Lived Reality of the 90 Percent: Relative Deprivation & Impoverishment”) get through this crisis.
The Influence of Wealth on Congressional Policy at a Crisis Moment: Net Worth of Congressional Leadership–Nancy Pelosi (Multimillionaire), Mitch McConnell (Multimillionaire), Charles (Chuck) Schumer (almost a millionaire), and Kevin McCarthy ($148,002 (2016))
Can the extreme financial security of Congressional leaders explain these minuscule, underwhelming proposals? Senator Sanders’ plan should be the starting point.
|Congressional Leadership, net worth, March 2020|
|Name||Part of Congress||District or State||Net Worth (estimated)||Source|
|Nancy Pelosi||House of Representatives; Speaker of the House||CA-12||$58,412,517 (2016)||http://www.opensecrets.org/personal-finances/net-worth/Nancy-Pelosi?cid=N00007360&year=2016|
|Mitch McConnell||Senate; Majority Leader||Kentucky||$26,678,035 (2016)||www.opensecrets.org/personal-finances/net-worth?cid=N00003389|
|Charles Schumer||Senate; Minority Leader||New York||$948,522 (2015)||https://www.opensecrets.org/personal-finances/net-worth?cid=N00001093|
|Kevin McCarthy||House of Representatives; Minority Leader||CA-23||$148,002 (2016)||http://www.opensecrets.org/personal-finances/net-worth?cid=N00028152&year=2016|
Conclusion of the COVID-19 Comments
In order to deal with the crisis the government must step up to assuage the fears of the population and support them as we all comply with necessary public-health-related directives. Will the stubbornness of the “status quo” cause the government not to rise to the level of a crisis?
On the Federal Reserve’s “Political Independence”
In an Inspector General’s Congressionally mandated report on diversity and inclusion, the Federal Reserve maintained the position that the U.S. Government could not compel the Fed to follow civil rights statutes, citing 12 U.S.C section 244. I found this astounding. So-called political independence is a gift; the recipient must act in an exemplary way with such a privilege. The Federal Reserve falls well short of deserving such a broad exception.
In a previous blog post, the following was written, which still applies at the present moment.
Overall, I am disappointed with the overall stagnation of the Board; a situation caused by institutional zeal for broad independence through the Board’s citation of 12 U.S.C. section 244. And, I could understand an argument for only the Federal Open Market Committee and only monetary policy making.
But it is unreasonable to expect the people of the United States of America to accept an “independence” stance that requires the Board, a federal agency, to be free from federal employment statutes that were adopted into law long after 1913, including civil rights laws and Title 5 of the U.S. Code. Asking any citizen in the present day to respect employment law from 1913 or to allow the Board to choose which statutes it will follow (or comply with) is totally unacceptable.
The money that the Board, on which it conducts monetary policy, comes from the people of the United States of America, which has a government that possesses authority to govern through the consent of its people. Once the government loses that consent, authority is lost. The Board, in its quest to protect a nebulous independence for non-monetary-policy administrative activities, forgets this bedrock principle and risks institutional failure.
The Federal Reserve and an Employment Discrimination Case: Artis v. Greenspan (v. Bernanke and v. Yellen)
In non-monetary policy terms, the wayward, Jim Crow Fed was exposed in the Artis v Greenspan  case, a case where the plaintiffs had to sue just to access the Fed’s corrupt and useless EEO process. The plaintiffs suffered for eighteen long years and went through three chairs: Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Janet Yellen. I have no respect for any of them.
Multi-millionaire Jerome Powell: $1,000,000 per Year without Work; Median Annual Salary in the United States: $47,060
So focused on the rich that the nonrich are trod upon. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, B.A., J.D., is a multimillionaire. He could decide to stay at home and still have a cool million dollars, or $19,230.76 per week coming in every year.
The median salary in the United States is $47,060, or $905 per week (before taxes). The Fed Chairman, makes the median U.S. worker’s salary in a mere 2.4 weeks! This result only exemplifies the terrible problem.
The Lived Reality of the 90 Percent: Relative Deprivation & Impoverishment
While the Fed Chairman and his ilk live in luxury, privilege, and financial security, most of the people of the United States live in high-class ruin.
In addition, tales of “hard work” are used to immiserate the poor and suffering; rich people who do not do any work are accepted without judgment. According to an article in the Guardian, “The bad behavior of the richest: what I learned from money managers,” by Brooke Harrington:
Behaviors indulged in the rich are not just condemned in the poor, but used as a justification to punish them, denying them access to resources that keep them alive, such as healthcare and food assistance. Discussion of poverty has become almost impossible without moral outrage directed at lazy “welfare queens”, “crackheads” and other drug addicts, and the “promiscuous poor” (a phrase that has cropped up again and again in discussions of public benefits over more than a century).
Politicians (of both parties) cut back vital services on stereotypes because they seek a way to do unacceptable cutbacks through victim-blaming. It is horrendous to treat human beings this way.
In this life, no one knows what the next day will bring. People must read the biblical parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31).
While there are tent cities in cities that have become too expensive for most to afford, what is not seen is the great anxiety of those who seem to have food, clothing, and shelter. These are people, who if they miss one paycheck, will end up in a tent city or living in their car. Worse, a person could have a full-time job yet still must live in the homeless shelter.
Others are functionally homeless, living with relatives or friends, while not being able to live independently. The “American Dream” of upward mobility and financial stability is long dead, except for the 9.9 percent.
The thing is if you are poor without dependents, the United States cares not one thimble about you. Indeed, policy is to blame those people for their impoverishment. At the same time, the people witness the rise of millionaires and billionaires, of which the Fed Chairman is a part, who simply do not have to work.
These abusers of society then have the gall to lecture the government for austerity policy to further impoverish the poor and seek government guarantees for the maintenance of rich peoples’ wealth.
Jason Furman, Harvard Ph.D, and a Multi-millionaire
People were lauding Jason Furman, Harvard Ph.D., for being a neoliberal so-called policy wonk and economist technician, who counseled that the United States was going into fiscal danger with the debt to GDP ratio approaching 105 percent.
Unmentioned was that the austerity paper on which the debt-to-GDP ratio was based was found to have significant error by a then-Ph.D student, Thomas Herndon, Ph.D.
Also unmentioned in the article was that Furman himself and his siblings are millionaires due to their late father’s business. Imagine proposing ways for the mass of the people of the United States to suffer while profiting from the suffering. This is disgusting.
Vice documentary on the tenth anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis
I had the (mis)fortune of watching a Vice documentary on the tenth anniversary of the global financial crisis. I was sickened. Wall Street firms had perpetuated fraud in mortgage securities to produce fees. When the “plan” blew apart, the goal was to reimburse those firms and to blame the people harmed.
The Failure of the Bailout: Focusing on the “System” and the Wealthy Rather than on the People of the United States of America
Timothy Geithner, Benjamin Bernanke, and Henry Paulsen have convinced themselves that they did not rescue and bailout Wall Street, they gave money to Wall Street banks to ensure that people could go to the ATM and get cash.
Well, how honorable! (/sarcasm)
The Federal Reserve and the U.S Treasury place money in the banks with no direction or supervision that that money got to the people. The government should have had a direct hand in correcting the crisis and punishing all responsible. The focus should not have been to prop up the very system that failed.
And, then all these rich people and politicians of both parties meet and backslap and laugh while so many others suffered losses, even death, because of this crisis.
Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream by Aaron Glantz
I have discovered that during the Obama Administration and continuing in the Trump Administration that a set of financial vultures were enriched by lax government policy. The government had a set of homes affected by the mortgage crisis. The government officials under Obama stated that the government could not deal with the homes and had to have “private sector” assistance.
Discover more of Aaron Glantz’s book, “Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream,” at Reveal News.
Who was this so-called private sector, which the government guaranteed them against loss (and received no part of the gain nor did the ill-affected people receive any relief)?
According to Mr. Glantz, this privileged class, coddled by both Democrat and Republican administrations, are Steven Mnuchin, Steve Schwarzman, the founder of Blackstone, the giant private equity firm, Tom Barrack, one of Donald Trump’s closest friends.
Considering this post, I was not surprised still I am deeply disgusted by the financial savagery permitted by capitalism which is aided by cavalier government officials.
The United States Abandoned Citizens Who Followed the Rules of the Pre-Internet Era
I, for one, ruthlessly lost my job at 42 (after a rank-and-yank campaign to malign me and my work), and all my savings. I searched for work for 63 months, with no assistance from “social safety net” programs and ran out of cash. (The feeling of being cashless in this society terrified me; I lost trust in the system, never to be regained.)
Numerous applications, a handful of interviews, with rampant age discrimination. All throughout, no support from the government of the United States. I did all that was expected from society, I studied and earned degrees. I applied for jobs and did what the managers asked and more. But I came from the paper-based system before all the Internet age. And, with my industry, publishing, I adapted to it. But what I could not do alone is adapt my legacy job to the new careers in the Internet age.
Frustratingly, policymakers jumped to the Internet age jobs and abandoned all those people who grew up in the legacy era. I am willing to learn the Internet era, but I must be given room and support to make the transition and to be protected against age discrimination. It is not my fault that I followed the rules of a previous era that has passed. And, policymakers were foolish to abandon a great swath of the population to focus on the new shiny bauble. We see the ill effects of that decision clearly in the United States and the world.
My Experience after the Financial Crisis and Abandonment: Financial Ruin
As a single person without dependents, I did not qualify for any assistance, except for 52 weeks of unemployment insurance. (I was out of the labor force involuntarily for 252 weeks. I was a member of the long-term unemployed (though I will never forget the experience of having to fend for myself for 200 weeks when I was in dire need). The jobs that I built my career on were sent out to other countries. The jobs that remain are for young people willing to work in precarious employment conditions or require exceptional expertise-a Ph.D in some narrow field in mathematics or computer science for machine learning jobs, for example.
The Hellscape of Seeking Social Assistance (when You Are Poor and Vulnerable)
So, for 200 weeks, there was no assistance, except from my now-exhausted retirement savings. Well into long-term unemployment, I heard of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) at the unemployment office. I went there excited for the opportunity for a fresh start. What I found in my jurisdiction was a program geared for those who never had a job and one person burdened for implementing the program in the jurisdiction I live in.
So many hoops to go through for ultimately a short 26-week course for a minimum wage job. The WIOA representative was shocked I was there since I possessed two degrees—the goal of the people in the unemployment office. None of the WIOA courses would help me make the transition to Internet-era work.
My initial hopes were dashed; I gave up. I could be depressed and anxiety-ridden on my own. As for the other social assistance programs, the assistance that is “available” is invasive of one’s privacy, degrading, and paltry.
This was not the case for Wall Street.
The Annoying, Foolish, and Irresponsible Rick Santelli
After Wall Street was completely bailed out, the foolish, irresponsible, and self-centered Rick Santelli of CNBC on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange had the absolute gall to say that people did not want to bail out people who should not have had mortgages—right after bailing out all Wall Street firms who provided those loans and promoted in particular subprime loans.
Former president Obama, surrounded by Wall Streeters, listened to that rant, and did nothing (not even used the bully pulpit!) to aid the people. The devastation to the mass of the people broke the trust in the government, and we see the result today.
The Indifferent Federal Reserve and Its Chairman
And, the Federal Reserve, and Chairman Powell, a multimillionaire, blame the lower labor force participation rate on people that want to stay on disability (hard to get) or SNAP or to play video games is completely irresponsible and ignorant. The Fed Chairman and the Federal Reserve System should be ashamed! Yes, I am speaking bluntly; this is not a time for diplomatic language. In addition, watch “The Big Short” and “Inside Job”. 
Update: Multimillionare Fed Chairman Jerome Powell revised his remarks in February 2020.
At the February 2020 Monetary Policy Report hearings, Chairman Powell, a multimillionaire, explained that the lower labor force participation rate is not based on the (paltry, extremely limited) social benefit programs but on education (which plunges many people into debt) and the opioid crisis.
Perhaps firing people with specific jobs that were sent to other countries and replacing them with highly specific jobs that the unemployed could not qualify for is also part of the problem.
The Monetary Policy Report as currently constituted is a betrayal of its origins with Coretta Scott King.
Well I am deeply disappointed in the entire Federal Reserve System. The Fed is captured by the rich and powerful. Given the Fed Chairman’s wealth, I have diminishing faith that the Fed will do anything, as the rich and powerful benefit from the broken system. The Fed Listens farce will lead to no effective change, the system is stacked with millionaires and the powerful.
It is a contributor to the political turmoil and lack of trust in U.S. political and capitalistic institutions. Unfortunately, the “American Way” is to wait for collapse and then rush to fix. The destruction is too extensive for such a cavalier and lax approach.
 Note: Monica Diaz was able to find housing after the cited article was published. The K Street NW tent city is still there. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2019/03/22/feature/homeless-living-in-a-tent-blocks-from-the-u-s-capitol-and-working-full-time/?utm_term=.02fbe9aa8919. Though the D.C. government “cleaned up” the area again permanently. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-room-on-the-street-dc-orders-homeless-out-of-underpass-in-fast-developing-neighborhood/2020/01/10/1704d604-319c-11ea-9313-6cba89b1b9fb_story.html.
 See, e.g., https://www.hbo.com/vice/special-reports/panic-the-untold-story-of-the-2008-financial-crisis. The next time, the government must let Wall Street firms go to zero, fire the CEOs and executives-no golden parachutes!—let the government carry on the banking operations, while reforming the skeleton banks that will move forward and take over with heavy regulations.
 Ten percent of the richest families own 84 percent of all stocks in the United States. http://money.com/money/5054009/stock-ownership-10-percent-richest/. Wall Street should not be bailed out ever again.
 I had a few precarious jobs. I consider it a part of unemployment because the sword of Damocles was over me in each of those precarious positions. One of them earned me 26 weeks more of unemployment insurance. Each of those weeks I was filled with anxiety.
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/28/study-food-stamp-benefits-are-already-too-low-in-99-percent-of-u-s-counties/?utm_term=.cd8c2090f74e. Sometimes this life hands you tragedy; the community should be there to support people enduring it because we all will have our turn on the seat of fire.
 See the motion picture “The Big Short”.
 The insulting insinuation came from (as usual) useless Ph.D. economists– Aguiar, Mark, Mark Bils, Kerwin Kofi Charles, and Erik Hurst (2017), “Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men,” https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/maguiar/files/leisure-luxuries-labor-June-2017.pdf.
 The FOMC laughed at the unemployed, https://theintercept.com/2017/01/27/federal-reserve-bankers-mocked-unemployed-americans-behind-closed-doors/.
 There will never again be a bailout for Wall Street, other than the government taking over Wall Street functions while allowing the guilty parties to go to zero.