(1) Former Vice President Joe Biden held a panel discussion at the University of Delaware on September 19, 2017. One of the panelists, Dr. Byron Auguste, president and co-founder of the tax-exempt organization, Opportunity@Work, stated something that not even Federal Reserve Board (Board) Chair Janet Yellen could utter–that there is no skills gap, rather it is the institutions not permitting job applicants to demonstrate their ability to learn the job.
Dr. Auguste’s opinion was refreshing. (Dr. Auguste is an economist.)
The fact that Chair Yellen did not mention this reality at her testimonies for the Monetary Policy Report is profoundly disappointing. The Board is failing at its mission, and it seems that the Board is only focused on making policy for the rich.
Facepalm at the United Nations 2017
Note: Also, at this panel discussion, Biden mentioned his disagreement with the idea of a universal basic income (UBI), saying that having a job provides “dignity.” For a person who is wealthy, and a recipient of Social Security and Medicare, it is unclear how those programs destroy dignity. (UBI essentially would extend Social Security to younger people.)
UBI is worthy of further study and should be considered with a job guarantee. Biden provided no way forward except criticizing UBI. I expect more from Biden, who says that he looks out for the (former) middle class.
(2) Hiring discrimination continues (a fact already known by the targets of discrimination).
See the paper, “Meta-analysis of field experiments shows no change in racial discrimination in hiring over time,” by Lincoln Quilian, Devah Pager, Ole Hexel, and Arnfinn H. Midtbøen.
(3) On the so-called skills gap (cont.): Economists, excepting, it seems, Chair Yellen are beginning to recognize that a skills gap does not exist. Also, the op-ed by Ben Tarnoff in the Guardian stated that the push for coding by Silicon Valley firms is to lower the wages of those doing the computer programming (as the current high salaries hurts company profit).
Indeed, every president since Bill Clinton has talked about training American workers to fill the “skills gap”. But gradually, one mainstream economist after another has come to realize what most workers have known for years: the gap doesn’t exist. Even Larry Summers has concluded it’s a myth.
The problem isn’t training. The problem is there aren’t enough good jobs to be trained for. The solution is to make bad jobs better, by raising the minimum wage and making it easier for workers to form a union, and to create more good jobs by investing for growth. This involves forcing business to put money into things that actually grow the productive economy rather than shoveling profits out to shareholders. It also means increasing public investment, so that people can make a decent living doing socially necessary work like decarbonizing our energy system and restoring our decaying infrastructure.
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 16, 2017, is below.
H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received
|Bank Holding Companies
||The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto, Canada; TD Group US Holdings LLC, Wilmington, Delaware; and TD Bank US Holding Company, Cherry Hill, New Jersey — to acquire Scottrade Financial Services, Inc., Town and Country, Missouri, and to merge Scottrade Bank into TD Bank, National Association, Wilmington, Delaware; and for The Toronto-Dominion Bank and TD Group US Holdings LLC to acquire additional shares of TD Ameritrade Holdings Corporation, Omaha, Nebraska.
-Approved, September 13, 2017
||Forms — modification of the proposed implementation date from September 30, 2017, to March 31, 2018, for the Board’s proposals to extend with revision the FR Y-9, FR Y-7N, FR Y-11, and FR 2314 families of reports and the FR 2886b report.
-Approved, September 11, 2017
||Office of Inspector General — appointment of Gerald L. Maye as assistant inspector general for investigations.
-Approved, September 12, 2017
|Regulations and Policies
||Regulation BB (Community Reinvestment) — publication for comment of interagency amendments to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to update the existing definitions of “home mortgage loan” and “consumer loan” and the public-file content requirements to conform the CRA regulations to recent changes to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act regulations.
-Approved, August 29, 2017
||First Nebraska Bank, Valley, Nebraska — issuance of a consent order of assessment of a civil money penalty.
-Announced, September 14, 2017
Markesan State Bank, Markesan, Wisconsin — written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
-Announced, September 12, 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 September 21, 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 September 20, 2017): $4,505,355 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).
(See the release for further information.)