Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending January 21, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending January 26, 2017; FOMC Laughter at the Unemployed

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 January 21, 2017, is below.

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

Category Action Taken
Enforcement ServiceLink Holdings, LLC, Jacksonville, Florida (as a successor to Lender Processing Services, Inc.) — interagency amendment to consent order issued in 2011, and assessment of a civil money penalty.

-Approved, January 16, 2017

Federal Open Market Committee Transcripts; Laughter at the Unemployed

The blog has covered a surprising development (that it burst into the public, not that it occurs) with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)–that members of the FOMC laughed at the plight of vulnerable citizens during meetings in 2011. The reason that this development has come out now is because of a practice to delay release of FOMC transcripts until five years after the meeting.

The unprofessional, galling behavior of some of the FOMC members–now-Chair Janet Yellen was there in her previous role as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank–demonstrates that the five year lag is being abused as a cover for inappropriate behavior and not to allow free-flowing discussion of monetary policy issues. As a result, immediate reforms are needed, including a reduction of the five-year period to a lower delay period (for example, perhaps, one year).

The behavior casts doubt that the FOMC should be allowed to participate in matters related to unemployed people, if the plight of these vulnerable human beings are disregarded in such an inhuman fashion.


Charles Plosser, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, stated at a 2011 FOMC meeting (in the Intercept article), that a person who owned 60 McDonald’s restaurants (franchise, presumably) stated that “passing drug tests, passing literacy test, and work ethic” were among the issues that the franchise owner faced.

In 2016, however, 5,000+ people turned out for a 100-job job fair! Work ethic is an issue? This is the problem when public servants, like Plosser, pay lip service to their jobs; he must do the research with the affected people–the unemployed–directly.


Resignations are needed;  immediate reforms to the Board and the FOMC are necessary. Both bodies are for the benefit of human beings and for public service. Those who cannot measure up to these heavy responsibilities should leave either or both bodies with haste.

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 January 26, 2017, 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 January 25, 2017):  $4,498,898 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

 

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Federal Reserve: Laughing at the Vulnerable is Cruel, Inhuman–Callous; FOMC 5-Year Meeting-Transcript-Release Sched is Being Abused

To whom great independence is granted, an extreme level of accountability and responsibility is required. The Federal Reserve Board (Board) and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has failed miserably with managing its service to citizens. Reform of the Board is needed immediately; FOMC transcripts must be released much earlier than five years.

The Board is an opaque, insular federal agency. The constant calls for “independence” and for secrecy of FOMC meetings make me suspicious.


Author’s note: I have covered other aspects of the Board’s inhuman spirit and cruelty in other posts–for example, the now-closed case of Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen. That this attitude would spill over into its policy work (or inform of its treatment of certain employees at the Board) is thus not surprising, but, at the same time, it is deeply hurtful.

In addition, the revelation that economists are indifferent to human beings serves as a confirmation point for previous posts.


Rightly so, it seems. An article by Matthew Stoller of the Intercept, demonstrating the utter lack of conscience against vulnerable citizens–those suffering unemployment as a result of the Great Recession–shows the corrosive effect of extreme secrecy and a total lack of accountability at the high levels of the Board and the FOMC. The reform proposals being considered must be given immediate attention.


[The current chair of the Board, Janet Yellen, was at the FOMC meetings mentioned in Stoller’s article.]


Only the comfortable can afford to laugh at those who suffered financial stress. The following quote comes from transcripts of the Nov. 1-2, 2011, FOMC meeting. That the laughter and joy at other people’s suffering comes from high-level public-service policymakers is galling.

“I frequently hear of jobs going unfilled because a large number of applicants have difficulty passing basic requirements like drug tests or simply demonstrating the requisite work ethic,” said Dennis Lockhart, a former Citibank executive who ran the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. “One contact in the staffing industry told us that during their pretesting process, a majority—actually, 60 percent of applicants—failed to answer ‘0’ to the question of how many days a week it’s acceptable to miss work.”

The room of central bankers then broke into laughter.”

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At an April 2011 FOMC meeting, the president of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, Jeff Lacker, had the following to say about vulnerable people in West Virginia–within his own jurisdiction–at least he tried to stifle the laughs (although his statements were similarly shallow, and lacked depth–he did not go the unemployment office to speak with the unemployed directly (!)):

In an April meeting that year, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeff Lacker told participants that “Several firms told us of difficulty finding adequate workers, because they preferred to collect unemployment benefits or can’t pass drug tests.” He reiterated that point in November, saying that in West Virginia he was told by an employment agency that “unquestionably the biggest problem in hiring skilled and unskilled workers was the inability to pass a drug test.”

Lacker’s Federal Reserve district includes West Virginia. In August, he again spoke of “widespread reports about hard drug use, OxyContin and methamphetamine, in Appalachia and other rural parts of our District—in particular, Appalachia.”

Apparently his colleagues responded with laughter again, because he then said “Drug abuse and the hardship involved in unemployment aren’t really laughing matters.” Usage, he noted, isn’t higher than the national norm in West Virginia. “It’s hard to pin this down quantitatively,” he continued, wondering if there was “something meaningful there as a contributor to impediments to labor market functioning.”


Note: The New York Fed published a paper in 2014, which justified the end of extended long-term unemployment benefits. Stoller’s article gives context to the paper’s approach toward the unemployed.


The President and Congress must take action to correct the errors going on at the Board and FOMC that the management there seem unwilling to address with “their friends.”

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Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending January 14, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending January 19, 2017

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 January 14, 2017, 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 without revision certain filings related to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: Declarations to Become a Financial Holding Company (FR 4010), Requests for Determinations and Interpretations Regarding Activities Financial in Nature (FR 4011), Notices of Failure to Meet Capital or Management Requirements (FR 4012), Notices by State Member Banks to Invest in Financial Subsidiaries (FR 4017), Regulatory Relief Requests Associated with Merchant Banking Activities (FR 4019), and Recordkeeping Requirements Associated with Merchant Banking Activities (FR 4023).

-Approved, January 11, 2017

Personnel Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems — appointment of Amy Burr as acting assistant director.

-Approved, January 6, 2017

(A/C)

Regulations and Policies Rules of Practice for Hearings — final rule adjusting the Board’s civil money penalties to account for inflation.

-Approved, January 6, 2017

(A/C)

Enforcement First Personal Financial Corp., Orland Park, Illinois — written agreement dated November 1, 2010, terminated January 5, 2017.

-Announced, January 10, 2017

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 January 19, 2017, 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 January 18, 2017):  $4,506,657 (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 January 7, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending January 12, 2017

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 January 7, 2017, is below.

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

Category Action Taken
Bank Holding Companies First Citizens BancShares, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina — to acquire additional shares of Carter Bank & Trust, Martinsville, Virginia.

-Approved, January 4, 2017

Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Registration of Mortgage Loan Originators (CFPB Reg G).

-Proposed, January 3, 2017

Forms — final Board review to extend without revision the Intermittent Survey of Businesses (FR 1374) and Domestic Finance Company Report of Consolidated Assets and Liabilities (FR 2248).

-Approved, January 5, 2017

Enforcement BNP Paribas Securities Corp., New York, New York; and Barclays Bank PLC, New York Branch — issuance of a consent order of prohibition against Jason Katz, a former institution-affiliated party of BNP Paribas and Barclays Bank.

-Approved, January 3, 2017

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 January 12, 2017, 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 January 11, 2017):  $4,498,513 (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 December 31, 2016; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending January 5, 2017

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 December 24, 2016, is below.

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

Category Action Taken
Board Operations Fed History Vision Project — to extend through the end of 2017 a temporary hold in order to preserve certain materials in connection with the project.

-Approved, December 28, 2016

 

Regulations and Policies Regulation BB (Community Reinvestment) — interagency annual inflation adjustment to the asset-size thresholds used to define a small bank, small savings association, intermediate small bank, and intermediate small savings association under the Community Reinvestment Act regulations.

-Approved, December 28, 2016

 

Reserve Bank Operations Accounting Policy Change — change in the accounting policy related to accounting for securities held in the System Open Market Account.

-Approved, December 26, 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 January 5, 2017, 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 January 4, 2016):  $4,498,816 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

U.S. Judiciary: Chief Justice John Roberts Issues 2016 Year-End Report

John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States, issued a 2016 year-end report on the judiciary. The Chief Justice in his annual report focused on the work of federal district court judges (federal trial court judges).

The Chief Justice noted that district judges work hard, in obscurity and subject to certain criticism for the sake of public service. (On this note, there are many other civil servants that toil anonymously, also (for far less than $205,100 (see chart below)).)


Author’s note: I have discussed federal lower court judges in discussing the profound injustice, which occurred in the employment discrimination case facing the Federal Reserve Board–Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen. The length, circuitous route, and incredible cost of time (18 years), effort and money that the plaintiffs have had to endure in this case to resolve this claim is offensive to the conscience. Such conditions show that the court system is also broken.

The district court judge, Emmet Sullivan (and others, perhaps) did their work, case management, and so on, discussed by the Chief Justice in his report. However, it is that same work that produced an expensive injustice for the plaintiffs involved in this case–the legal system was used as a weapon against financially poor litigants (case concluded, cert denied October 3, 2016). I cannot laud any district court judge for such treatment.

Moreover, The adversarial system must go in civil cases; it is unfair to mete out “justice” on the basis of a party’s financial status.


Notably, the Chief Justice did not mention of the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in the report.

[Note 1: Judicial pay has increased for 2017. See Executive Order __, schedule 7) (https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/pay-executive-order-2017-adjustments-of-certain-rates-of-pay.pdf).

 

Position Pay in 2014 (in dollars) Pay in 2015 (in dollars) Pay in 2016 (in dollars) Pay in 2017 (in dollars)
Chief Justice of the United States 255,500 255,500 260,700 263,300
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court 244,400 244,400 249,300 251,800
Circuit Judges 211,200 211,200 215,400 217,600
District Judges 199,100 199,100 203,100 205,100
Judges of the Court of International Trade 199,100 199,100 203,100 205,100

]

In the appendix to the report, the Chief Justice provides and explanation of the workload of the judiciary. I will focus on the Supreme Court’s workload. Twelve per curiam decisions were issued during this term in cases that were not argued.

  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Filings 8521 8857 8241 7738 8159 7857 7713 7509 7376 7033 6475
In forma pauperis 6846 7132 6627 6142 6576 6299 6160 6005 5808 5488 4926
Paid docket 1671 1723 1614 1596 1583 1558 1553 1504 1568 1545 1549
Cases:                      
argued 87 78 75 87 82 86 79 77 79 75 82
disposed 82 74 72 83 77 83 73 76 77 75 70
signed opinions 69 67 67 74 73 75 64 73 67 66 62