Futility of “Colorblindness” and Ben Carson: On Poverty Being a “State of Mind”; Carson’s Own Net Worth is $22 Million

I never cease to be amazed at the callous doublespeak, seeing to be compassionate in one sentence, while advocating harsh treatment in the very next sentence. The practitioners of this sort of deception that I have found so far are Dick Grote, Wardell Connerly, and, the topic of this post, Ben Carson.

At an oversight hearing for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Carson was the witness for HUD, advocating for $6 billion of cuts to the HUD budget (13% of its total budget). Carson was once revered for his surgery on conjoined twins at Johns Hopkins University Hospital; he has for some reason misused that adulation to justify withering attacks on the poor.

The poor exist because it is a product of capitalism–some people have so much that they hoard the cash, cash which is taken from others in the society, who suffer from enduring lack of cash. It is the reason that capitalism must be moderated by a responsible government, lest the entire system collapse.

I do not give a millimeter to Carson; it is disgusting that he uses his black skin and life story of poverty not to help others in similar circumstances but rather to hurt them. He is not the only one: He is joined by Wardell Connerly, David Clarke, Larry Elder, and others.

As Representative Al Green (D-Tx.) commented at the hearing (beginning at approximately 2:55:05), Carson argues–in a false calm tone–to destroy others and justify taking more from the vulnerable so that the rich can get more cash.

In addition, while demanding the vulnerable to act perfectly, Carson himself was woefully unprepared for the hearing. Carson was more interested in posturing before the cameras and receiving praise from the GOP committee members as opposed to knowing the specifics about the budget cuts he was proposing.

Carson, net worth $22 million, had the gall to complain that Rep. Green ascribed to him opinions that were not his (regarding his statement on poverty being a “state of mind”), ignoring that he had not answered Rep. Green’s questions.

In fact, his statements in the interview with Armstrong Williams on SiriusXM engage in a cunning lecture of victim blaming, demand of “personal responsibility”, and rejection of government moderation of the wicked nature of capitalism.

I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there,” he said during an interview on SiriusXM Radio with Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend.

“And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom,” Carson said.

All of this is in the context of the United States’ centuries of white hegemony. As a result, Carson’s statements are really a stunning, yet hidden, defense of the status quo. Rep. Green was right to bring this to his attention as well as make Carson live up to the demands of his own words (namely, to state specifically which programs were to be cut). Carson failed spectacularly, and so do his words.

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Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 23, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 28, 2017; Three Of Note Items


Of Note

(1) The 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances was released. According to a FEDS Notes article, the net worth for nonwhites, despite a showing of growth, did not begin to approach or match the significantly higher net worth of whites. At similar educational levels, white net worth surpassed, by far, the net worth of blacks and of latinos.

Comment:  This result, while stunning, is unsurprising, given the history and policies of the United States of America.

 

(2) Fed Governor Lael Brainard gave two speeches on the effect of persistent employment disparities (for black and latino peoples) on the wider economy. (Both speeches reflected her own views, not those of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) or the Board.)

Why Persistent Employment Disparities Matter for the Economy’s Health

Labor Market Disparities and Economic Performance

Comment:  For the Board, I do not have confidence, given the closed-door FOMC views and overall derision toward people not socio-economically fortunate. (See blog posts on an article in the Intercept and on the Board’s own nearly 19-year obstinance with its black employees in Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen)

Such observations would have to become policy positions. With this context, mere reporting on known facts (without remedial policy ideas/proposals) is not sufficient.

 

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(3) Interesting New York Times op-ed by Rana Foroohar, “How Big Banks Became Our Masters.”

Observation:  Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) directed a question to Chair Janet Yellen at the July 2017 Monetary Policy Report hearing. He referred to Foroohar’s book, “Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street.”


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 23, 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 PacWest Bancorp, Beverly Hills, California — to acquire CU Bancorp, Los Angeles, and thereby indirectly acquire California United Bank.

-Approved, September 20, 2017

Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Recordkeeping Requirements Associated with the Real Estate Lending Standards Regulation for State Member Banks (Reg H-5).

-Proposed, September 21, 2017

Personnel Division of Monetary Affairs — appointment of Brian Madigan and Stephen Meyer as senior advisers and Matthew Luecke as associate director.

-Announced, September 22, 2017

Management Division — appointment of Curtis Eldridge as associate director and Katherine Perez-Grines and Daniela Wegmann as assistant directors.

-Announced, September 21, 2017

Regulations and Policies Presidential $1 Coin Program — annual report to Congress on the Presidential $1 Coin Program.

-Approved, September 8, 2017

(A/C)

Enforcement AB&T Financial Corporation, Gastonia, North Carolina — written agreement issued May 7, 2012, terminated September 13, 2017.

-Announced, September 19, 2017

The First Bank of Baldwin, Baldwin, Wisconsin — written agreement issued July 26, 2011, terminated September 19, 2017.

-Announced, September 21, 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 28, 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 27, 2017):  $4,502,238 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Futility of “Colorblindness” & White Hegemony: Mere CEO Repudiations of the 45th President’s Comments–Insufficient, Useless

It is insufficient for corporate CEOs to denounce the words of President Donald Trump, while doing absolutely nothing to eradicate the stain of “colorblind” discrimination.

With the actions in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, the nation recoiled at the open display of racial hatred. However, the events in Charlottesville served as the culmination of the grinding microaggressions–covert, exclusionary, discriminatory-and “colorblind” systemic discrimination–that occur daily.

Into this systemically discriminatory reality (for some members of the U.S. society) enter corporate chief executive officers (CEO), many of whom, perhaps, are active or passive participants in the systemic discrimination. It is not enough to proclaim the words of the civil rights laws and then pursue reckless programs that permit the exclusionary practices, which the neo-nazis, kkk-ers, and other white hegemons stated openly in Charlottesville as well as uttered in other places in the United States.

merck ceo leaves council 2017

Dick Grote, Harvard Business School, Corporate America, & “Rank and Yank”.  Systemic discrimination is involved in the practice of forced-distribution “performance management”. This blog has covered Dick Grote’s “rank and yank” (aka forced distribution) program, which many corporations follow in order to dump employees should the financial numbers be insufficient to satisfy Wall Street. Other organizations have followed suit, some covered in this blog. Indeed, Harvard Business School, from which many corporate-executive MBAs come, publishes Grote’s materials.

Bucket (rank)

Percentage [“vitality curve”] (amounts can be adjusted)

Effect

A

20

Lavish rewards, encouragement

B

70

Little to paltry increase

C

10

Pressure to quit, firing

rank_yank
Artist: Michael Sloan

A quote from Grote (discussed previously at this blog):

But what if a company’s forced ranking procedure, honestly and objectively done, reveals that the blacks or women or disabled employees just aren’t as talented as the white ones? Should they do what some Harvard professors are said to do and award A’s to all the blacks, just to keep them from squawking?” (Grote, page 4 (a quote from a previous post)).

(Note: Consider this statement from Grote with the ever-present and persistent legacy of slavery and Jim Crow subjugation in the United States of America.)

White hegemony in the government. This questionable fidelity to white hegemony extends to the government. The Federal Reserve (its former Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen was covered in this blog), the Secret Service, and the U.S. Capitol Police Department have had or have long-term employment discrimination cases. The Federal Reserve acts grudgingly and haughtily towards any action that would threaten the mostly white workforce it has created. (Note: After 104 years of Federal Reserve inaction, Dr. Raphael Bostic became President of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank.)

Black/African American Permanent Board Employees, Table C-2, in whole numbers (in numerical order of significance), 2011–2013
2011 2012 2013
Total Black/African American employees 567 573 573
All other pay grade, FR-16 to FR-25 434 418 400
Mid-level professional pay grades, FR-26 to FR-28 106 125 136
Senior managers and officers pay grade, FR-29 to FR-00 27 30 37
Total employees of the Federal Reserve Board 2,187 2,279 2,353
Source: Board OIG Audit Report, 2015-MO-B-006, page 65.

The same is true for the U.S. Supreme Court, which lectures for a “colorblindness” (see John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson) that practically means that most nonwhites are not welcome (for example, Antonin Scalia). The proof of this is the composition of a homogeneous law clerk workforce, who in turn apply their elite, majority life experiences into law. (For example, Graham v. Connor, Tennessee v. Garner, and all affirmative action cases.)

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Confirmation bias in the workplace and management. Discrimination extends into supervision, with writing being judged by high standards, exclusively (Reeves, Dr. Arin N. (2014, April). “Written in Black and White:  Exploring Confirmation Bias in Racialized Perceptions of Writing Skills.” Nextions Yellow Paper Series, 2014-0404.)  for the nonwhite subordinate. Such middling or low evaluations seriously hobble or end careers.

Conclusion. So, in closing, while the words of Trump were hard to hear, they are the result of covertly practiced and rampant systemic discrimination.

It is far past time for the United States to eradicate all discrimination from the society. Mere words from wealthy CEOs, who have lives of exclusion, are not enough. Only positive and definitive institutional action will satisfy the people of the United States.

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending August 5, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending August 10, 2017; Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier Quits Presidential Council, “Colorblindness” Must End


Of Note items

(1) Cannot find a job? Move! Billionaire Donald Trump (the 45th president who often travels to his properties) and economist Tyler Cowen (professor of economics at George Mason University) advise you to move, forgetting at-will employment, lack of relocation-cost reimbursement, effect of child custody agreements, underwater mortgages, or other real-life (not academic economist’s) considerations (for example, unemployed people do not have money).

(2) Detestable overt and implicit “colorblind” racial violence. It is commendable that Kenneth Frazier, CEO, Merck & Co., stated that he quit from Trump’s President’s Manufacturing Council as a result of Trump’s lack of response to the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. (Image is from Frazier’s tweet (link above).)

merck ceo leaves council 2017

However, while the racial violence was overt in Charlottesville, the everyday implicit racial bias is equally corrosive to a fair society. The everyday silent, hidden “colorblind” violence continues. It would be far more helpful for Frazier to start a CEO-led committee to expose and eradicate all discrimination in the workplace.

The Supreme Court, through Antonin Scalia and John Marshall Harlan, demonstrated its institutional loyalty to the racial status quo–white-race societal dominance. The Federal Reserve, in its completed , almost 20-year employment discrimination case, Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen, also demonstrated its institutional fidelity to “colorblind” racial discrimination.

(See Auerbach, Robert (2008). “Deception and Abuse at the Fed,” chapter 8, and Merton, Rev. Thomas (1964). “Seeds of Destruction” (Letters to a White Liberal).)

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

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 5, 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 — initial Board review to extend with revision the Application for Employment with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FR 28, FR 28s, and FR 28i).
-Proposed, July 24, 2017Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Disclosure Requirements Associated with Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in and Relationships with Covered Funds (Regulation VV) (FR VV).
-Proposed, July 27, 2017
Enforcement Barclays Bank PLC, New York Branch, New York, New York — issuance of a consent order of prohibition against Michael Weston, a former institution-affiliated party.
-Announced, July 24, 2017M&T Bank Corporation, Buffalo, New York, and Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company — written agreement dated June 17, 2013, terminated July 25, 2017.
-Announced, July 27, 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 August 10, 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 August 9, 2017):  $4,515,817 (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 July 22, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending July 27, 2017; Macroeconomics and “Colorblindness” = Wickedness


Of Note items

(1) From the Guardian Newspaper (United Kingdom)

One quote about “balanced budgets”–

“Despite these significant shifts, myths about the economy refuse to go away and hamper a more productive debate. They concern how the government manages public finances – “tax and spend”, if you will.

The first is that there is an inherent virtue in balancing the books. Conservatives still cling to the idea of eliminating the budget deficit, even if it is with a 10-year delay (2025, as opposed to George Osborne’s original goal of 2015). The budget-balancing myth is so powerful that Labour feels it has to cost its new spending pledges down to the last penny, lest it be accused of fiscal irresponsibility.

However, as Keynes and his followers told us, whether a balanced budget is a good or a bad thing depends on the circumstances. In an overheating economy, deficit spending would be a serious folly. However, in today’s UK economy, whose underlying stagnation has been masked only by the release of excess liquidity on an oceanic scale, some deficit spending may be good – necessary, even.”

(2) From the Board’s working paper series “Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS), Economists Tomaz Cajner, Tyler Radner, David Rattner, and Ivan Vidangos authored a staff working paper titled “Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle.”

My observation:  In summary, the effect of persistent, systemic discrimination has terrible effects on black people in the labor market. This paper shows why economist-consensus talk of “full employment” level being reached is patently unfair and dangerous to black people in the United States. The United States was built on the backs of black people, forced to work for free and under inhuman conditions. The legacy lives on even with so-called civil rights acts. (See Reverend Thomas Merton (1964), “Seeds of Destruction,” pages 19-20, and this blog’s posts on “colorblindness.”)

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[Note:  The Board itself is not excluded from discriminatory behavior. See this blog’s posts on the former case of Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen. Eighteen years of the plaintiffs’ lives were lost because of Board obstinancy.

2014-03-04-auerbach
Sheila Clark’s letter to the EEOC (printed in Robert D. Auerbach’s book, “Deception and Abuse at the Fed,” page 123).

A quote from a previous blog update–“On June 20, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a petition for certiorari (No. 15-1543). On October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court announced that it denied cert for TERRELL, GEORGIANNA, ET AL. V. YELLEN, CHAIR, BD. OF GOVERNORS (page 15 of pdf).”]

(3) Related to item (2), there was a column on Bloomberg.com by Narayana Kocherlakota (2017), “Macroeconomists Can’t Keep Ignoring Race and Gender.” July 27.

Key quote–

“Economics is supposed to be concerned with figuring out what makes people better off, and how we can have more of it. For decades, macroeconomists have operated with the (largely unspoken) presumption that such questions are best addressed using models that ignore race and gender differences. The more we learn about these differences, the clearer it becomes that this is a mistake. The models need to change.”


 

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 July 22, 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 the Recordkeeping and Disclosure Requirements Associated with Regulation R (FR 4025).

-Approved, July 17, 2017

Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Application for Exemption from Prohibited Service at Savings and Loan Holding Companies (FR LL-12).

-Proposed, July 17, 2017

Regulations and Policies Covered-Fund Seeding Period — delegation of authority to the Federal Reserve Banks to approve requests for extensions of time to conform certain “seeding” investments in hedge funds or private equity funds under the Volcker Rule, provided certain criteria are met.

-Approved, July 17, 2017

Minority Depository Institutions — annual report to Congress on preserving minority depository institutions, in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act.

-Approved, June 30, 2017

(A/C)

Prepaid Cards — annual report to Congress on government-administered, general-use prepaid cards, in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act.

-Approved, July 3, 2017

(A/C)

Volcker Rule — interagency coordination of reviews of the treatment of certain foreign funds under the Volcker Rule.

-Announced, July 21, 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 July 27, 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 July 26, 2017):  $4,512,020 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

 

Futility of “Colorblindness” and Bill Maher: The Attempt to Use the First Amendment as a Cover for Racial Abuse; the Never-Ending Pain (and Seeming Persistence) of the N-Word

In a few seconds on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher show, the sad reality of U.S. culture was laid bare for all to see. First, a white man, Bill Maher, felt comfortable enough to casually use the N-word. Then, on top of that, a United States Senator, Benjamin Sasse (R-Nebraska), with black constituents, tacitly agreed with Bill Maher’s use of the N-word, saying absolutely nothing.

Senator Sasse wrote later he was surprised by the statement and that was the reason for his silence. But surely no one in who lives in the United States is unfamiliar with the N-word and its meaning. So, I do not accept Senator Sasse’s explanation. (Would he be that passive if someone he knows was insulted? Only he knows, but I suspect the answer is no.)


Note:  Moreover, Senator Sasse stated he is a “First Amendment absolutist,” which apparently means that racial abusive language is supposed to be protected. In contrast, in the United Kingdom, racial abuse is a criminal offense. This situation shows that the United States still has a long way to go in resolving its moral failings and inhumanity due to chattel slavery. Attempting to force targets of racial abuse to accept racial abuse as licit will ultimately lead to disaster.


CO5qHH8U8AAE0RD
Virginia Slave Law, 1705

I have to say I was surprised by the anger towards use of the N-word by Maher, as hip-hop music sung by black music artists is often filled with extreme and excessive use of the N-word (and, at times, vulgar language). This music is popular and is sold internationally. So, people learning English will pick up language from U.S. chattel slavery. This situation should be held as absolutely disgusting, but it is not. The United States will have to reckon with its practice of chattel slavery and Jim Crow before liberally throwing this inhuman word around–by people like Maher and, indeed, anyone else.

As the blog stated in 2014–

With this word and the bloody context surrounding and involving it

  • no young person,
  • no singer,
  • no newspaper,
  • no journalist,
  • no agent provocateur,
  • no athlete,
  • no actor

nobody–can sanitize (or dare sanction the use of) this ugly word! There must be a full accounting of the blood spilled and denied humanity of Black people first (current time included). Once that is done, then the society will be able to take on the word, which if the corrective action would have been placed into effect, the word would disappear from the lexicon.

A few seconds in a TV show in 2017 captured the failure of the United States to reckon with its living legacy of chattel slavery. It has distorted the culture of the United States in harmful ways.

Note: After this post was published, the blog became aware of Ice Cube’s comment to Maher about the ownership of the n-word. The blog’s response is the same–the word is vile and must be removed from music lyrics sold for general consumption.

 

 

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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