The Futility of “Colorblindness”: GOP Representative Robert Pittenger’s Comments On BBC Program Expressed True Belief of Republicans Against Black People and the Vulnerable Members of U.S. Society

The Republican party (GOP) has an authoritarian backbone: The party worships the rich, like GOP nominee for U.S. President, Donald J. Trump (who received $885 million in real estate-related tax breaks), and disparages the vulnerable (otherwise known as the 99%).

The focus of GOP action is the removal of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s programs to assist the vulnerable (and give all support to the 1% (who provide “campaign contributions”). In addition, the government bailed out the financial industry after the 2008 financial crisis. One result of that is that the Federal Reserve Board has a balance sheet of $4.5 trillion (as of the date of this post).

Representative Paul Ryan delivered his belief in blaming the poor. Given his Irish ancestry, a New York Times columnist, Timothy Egan, reminded Ryan that the English had the same idea toward his ancestors in Ireland.

In North Carolina, there has been another police-involved shooting, which has left a citizen dead. While the officer is black, the situation is the same all previous police-involved shootings where the officer involved claims his life was in danger and the authorities sanction the resultant killing as justified (under Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor).

With this situation as background, a North Carolina GOP member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Pittenger (under investigation by the FBI and the IRS), had an interview of BBC’s Newsnight program, with the BBC’s James O’Brien. During the interview, Mr. Pittenger saw fit to disparage the protestors as

  • not following the example of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King (who was assassinated) and
  • haters of white people because of their presumed success.

His critique was framed by the GOP’s continued disparagement of the vulnerable members of society, just like Ryan and the rest of the GOP. Mr. Pittenger simply ignored all of the history and ill effects of policies based on “colorblind” white hegemony.

His subsequent explanations do not alter his (or the GOP’s) beliefs that he expressed openly during the BBC interview.

Unsurprisingly, also in the BBC interview, Mr. Pittenger refused to apply the example of Rev. King’s actions (which he applied to protestors) to the present-day campaign of Donald J. Trump who has insulted many groups in his statements.

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 10, 2016; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 15, 2016

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 10, 2016, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Personnel Division of Consumer and Community Affairs — appointment of V. Nicole Bynum as deputy director.

-Approved, August 31, 2016

(A/C)

Regulations and Policies Activities and Investments of Banking Entities — interagency report, with recommendations, to Congress and the Financial Stability Oversight Council concerning activities and investments of supervised banking entities, in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act.

-Announced, September 8, 2016

Countercyclical Capital Buffer — final policy statement describing the framework the Board will follow in setting the countercyclical capital buffer for U.S.-based credit exposures.

-Approved, September 6, 2016

 

Enforcement FirstFed Bancorp, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Bessemer, Alabama, and FirstFed Bancorp, Inc. — written agreement dated June 27, 2011, terminated September 1, 2016.

-Announced, September 6, 2016

 

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 15, 2016, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of September 14, 2016):  $4,527,086 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 3, 2016; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 8, 2016

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 3, 2016, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Forms Forms — final Board review to extend with revision the Consolidated Financial Statements for Holding Companies (FR Y-9C) and to extend without revision the other forms that make up the family of FR Y-9 reports (FR Y-9LP, FR Y-9SP, FR Y-9ES, and FR Y-9CS).

-Approved, August 31, 2016

 

 

Personnel Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation — appointment of Catherine Tilford as assistant director.

-Approved, September 1, 2016

 

 

Enforcement Barclays Bank PLC, London, United Kingdom — issuance of a notice of intent to prohibit and notice of assessment of a civil money penalty against Christopher Ashton, a former institution-affiliated party.

-Announced, August 29, 2016

 

North State Bancshares, Inc., Shakopee, Minnesota — written agreement dated July 26, 2010, terminated August 29, 2016.

-Announced, September 1, 2016

 

 

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 8, 2016, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of September 7, 2016):  $4,504,896 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Long-Term Unemployment: Some Economists Discourage the Unemployed, Ignore, and Add to, Pain of Unemployment

Overall, the notion of relying on wealthy Ph.D. economists to be the go-to figure on every social activity must end. Economics is a narrow field; noise expansion leads the profession to unacceptable error and failure.


(Related: The New York Times reported on the influence of think-tank monetary donors over papers the think tanks publish.)


The economics profession fails in the area of unemployment. Statistics and Calculus cannot explain the process of a person seeking and getting a job. Specifically, a job seeker submits materials to a person seeking workers for jobs in order to convince the employer to pick that particular person. The process is precise and unique: There is a job announcement, software to organize the job applications, and then a person (on behalf of the employer) to read the applications and decide on whom to interview and ultimately select. The process is essentially two sided (job seekers and employers).

This reality has not stopped economists from writing papers that demean the people experiencing unemployment. In studies throughout the period of the Great Recession, and its still ongoing and devastating aftermath, economist’s papers have stated that after 26+ weeks of unemployment (long-term unemployment), a person’s skills erode, the person loses connections to the workforce, or that too much compassion for the unemployed mucks up the “true state of the economy” (!).


(Note: A paper of the Urban Institute has pointed out that papers dealing with long-term unemployment often specify negative outcomes that supposedly occur with unemployment, which are not supported by direct evidence. I have written on this topic previously in this blog.)


This offensive conduct from these economists must end, especially since economists rarely cite the financial interests that may be paying for the paper and the assertions contained within those documents. Never again can mere economist assertions/guesses/hunches/bias be blindly accepted without direct proof.

Even more, the morale of those human beings that are unemployed (who struggle to restart their income by finding work) is damaged by such economist’s papers (as cited in this post), adding further obstacles and negativity to an already solitary, exhausting, and pressure-filled task.

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending August 27, 2016; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 1, 2016

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending August 27, 2016, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Regulations and Policies Financial Market Infrastructures — publication of notice adopting the supervisory rating system for financial market infrastructures subject to Federal Reserve supervision.

-Approved, August 22, 2016

 

Enforcement Central State Bank (now CBI Bank & Trust), Muscatine, Iowa — issuance of a cease and desist order and assessment of a civil money penalty upon the consent of Christopher Watkins, a former institution-affiliated party.

-Announced, August 23, 2016

 

Cornerstone Bank, Overland Park, Kansas — written agreement dated January 14, 2010, terminated August 22, 2016.

-Announced, August 25, 2016

 

Orient Bancorporation, San Francisco, California, and Bank of the Orient — written agreement dated November 16, 2010, terminated August 18, 2016.

-Announced, August 23, 2016

 

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 1, 2016, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of August 31, 2016):  $4,502,667 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending August 20, 2016; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending August 25, 2016

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending August 20, 2016, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Personnel Management Division — appointment of Stephen Pearson as assistant director.

-Announced, August 18, 2016

 

Enforcement Allied Bank, Mulberry, Arkansas — issuance of a prompt corrective action directive with the consent of the bank.

-Announced, August 18, 2016

 

Tennessee State Bancshares, Inc., Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Tennessee State Bank — written agreement dated August 31, 2009, terminated August 10, 2016.

-Announced, August 16, 2016

 

 

 

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for August 25, 2016, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of August 24, 2016):  $4,519,318 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: Paper by Jordan Haedtler, Andrew Levin, and Valerie Wilson Propose Reform to Fed Structure; Diversity Important to Foster Well-Considered Monetary Policy

Haedtler, Jordan; Levin, Andrew; and Wilson, Valerie (2016), “Making the Federal Reserve Fully Public: Why and How,” paper, August.

This paper outlined current issues presented by the current operations of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks (collectively, the Fed). The authors present several ideas for thinking about reforms (that would not affect the Fed’s political independence (a long-used diversionary tactic against any reform, see Auerbach, Robert D. (2008), Deception and Abuse at the Fed: Henry B. Gonzalez Battles Alan Greenspan’s Bank, Austin: University of Texas Press.”).


The graphic (below) shows the potential obstinacy the authors are up against with the Fed; persistence is key and absolutely necessary in this case. The Fed is a public agency; it is way past time for the organization to accept it.

2014-03-04-auerbach
Sheila Clark’s letter to the EEOC (printed in the Aurebach book, page 123).

 

I will review topics in the paper that caught my attention in this post. (Again, the full paper is located here.)


Related blog posts–

https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/federal-reserve-board-democratic-members-of-congress-write-letter-to-board-lack-of-diversity-adversely-affects-policymaking/

https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/federal-reserve-board-andrew-levin-and-fed-up-propose-recommendations-to-ensure-that-the-board-consider-the-views-of-all-people-in-the-united-states/


 

While the paper is necessarily technical (especially, the composition of the boards of the Federal Reserve Banks), the observation of the ill effects of the current structure of the Fed is extremely important. The ultimate goal of the Fed must be to work for the entire population of the United States of America.

First, the authors noted that the lack of diversity, in terms of race, gender, and profession, as well as sectoral diversity leads to perspectives of many segments of the population being left out in monetary policy discussion. For example, the paper explained that the effect of monetary policy was not discussed in the following areas:

  • African Americans suffer disproportionately from labor market downturns and benefit markedly from economic recoveries. However, this issue was little mentioned in the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, meetings.
  • A focus on inflation, the authors continued, rather than on full employment reflected the make-up of the people in the room–multimillionaire chief executive officers and other major corporate figures. People with this wealth or income have different perspectives than small business owners, debtors, students, middle- and low-income workers, and those seeking credit.

Second, the paper makes note of the need of an independent office of the inspector general. While the Board has an Inspector General, the office is not independent because the office depends on the Board for his or her position as well as for the budget to operate the office. As noted in a previous post

The Board’s [Inspector General] IG is not truly independent, rather it is an arm of the Board’s Chair. The Board’s Chair appoints the IG. (See Auerbach, Robert D. (2008), Deception and Abuse at the Fed: Henry B. Gonzalez Battles Alan Greenspan’s Bank, Austin: University of Texas Press, pages 113-115 (esp. first full paragraph on page 114).) In addition, the Board funds the operations of the IG (see, for example, Board Annual Report, 2013, page 314 (paragraph 3)).

In addition, that authors mention a recommendation of an audit by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO. It is unclear what type of audit the authors are seeking–financial or performance. It seems to be a mixture of the two. But performance audits must be carefully monitored and examined. I have discussed the weakness of the performance audit previously in the blog.

Third, the authors briefly discuss the Board’s semiannual Monetary Policy Report. Presently, the MPR is mostly historical (previous six-month period) at the time it is distributed to members of Congress. The MPR tends to be wordy, filled with distracting graphical material, and difficult to discern the points the Board is seeking to present. I think a more focused and clear report is necessary for the Board to fulfill its obligations to the public.

The authors’ proposal should be included with proposals from former Board Vice Chair Donald Kohn (presented previously in the blog).

It will be interesting to see which reforms occur as a result of this well-written paper.

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