Thursday, October 5, 2017

The pulse of Black America these days appears to be controlled by several issues, none of which have any true impact on improving the present status quo of the African American community. These include Cam Newton's (seemingly innocents) comment regarding route running, the constant displeasure and anger toward President Donald Trump’s oral attacks against multi-million dollar celebrities associated with professional sports (namely Jemele Hill, LeBron James, & Colin Kaepernick)  and others who have decided to make a stand for (or knee) for whatever reason they say. Sure there is the occasional racist confederate statue and promoted albeit unsubstantiated Russian hacking of the US 2016 Presidential election, but anything that involves policy that could possibly actually assist in empowering the black community economically such as US monetary policy, not a whisper.

To be fair, maybe monetary policy or even fiscal policy are areas not to many African Americans take the time to understand, or maybe they feel it is too difficult a subject to comprehend. Whatever the case, you are more likely to see sincerely emotionally based thought-out gobbledygook on some stupid ish LeBron James said, or on how heterosexual black men are the white men of black people, or how Jemele Hill was right, than the previous. I would expect that a lot of cats know the difference between monetary and fiscal policy, but just in case they dont, I will attempt to explain the two, outline how a lack of focused attention on monetary policy is a slow death of the African American community and how can we change our attitudes such that we focus on tangible political issues instead of cosmetic subjects typical of identity politics that do nothing but aid in divide and conquering everybody.

Fiscal policy is a way a government adjusts its spending levels and tax rates to influence a nation's economy. Examples of this can be observed when the government implements tax cuts. Monetary policy is a macroeconomic policy put in place by central banks like the Federal Reserve designed to control and/or manage the money supply and interest rate. By macroeconomic, I am referring to general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity, which in theory can aid in dealing with consumption, inflation and even the Gross domestic product (overall productivity). Some common examples of monetary policy deals with regulating the discount rate of borrowing or lending and purchasing of government securities – all of which are ways the Federal Reserve in this instance, can control the country's money supply. Thus use of the noun money.

For all practical purposes, current US monetary policy is crushing the black community. Sure it has the stock markets at all-time highs (which for the record I benefit from) and has so far created the 2nd longest bull market run in history,  but it hasn’t resulted in any improvement in the economic capacity of the average black person in America. For us, it has yielded a period of wage stagnation even with the supposedly reduction in the national unemployment rate producing economic inequality levels we ain’t had since before the Great Depression. This is even after all the stuff Bush and Obama did based on the request of the Federal Reserve, supposedly to help Main Street (Quantitative Easing, TARP, and the bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, and GM). Overall, the median household before-tax incomes have fallen from near $55,000 to $53,000 presently, which means it is even worse for African Americans.

So far, Fed monetary policy has widened the employment gap for prime-age African Americans and whites. Plus, Blacks tend to slightly (if at all), participates in the financial markets, which over the past 8 years have served to mostly advantage the upper 10%. All of which is primarily determined by Federal Reserve’s monetary interventions. Although progressives like Obama and the mainstream media’s  assert that Federal Reserve policies thattarget full employment benefits African-Americans, it is not clear to how this can be the case when there is no evidence of this (albeit Obama said it was), or to support that specific unemployment for certain ethnic racial groups are considered when they formulate and implement monetary policy.

Since 2000 the African-American unemployment rate has been double the white unemployment rate with the unemployment rate of African-American teens being more than six times higher than the overall white unemployment rate.  Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Board Chair even said that the US central bank was basically powerless to do anything specifically to tackle high unemployment rates in the black community. 

More to this point, Former Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota conducted research on the minutes and transcripts of the central bank’s meetings and found no referencesto the African American unemployment. This was in 2010 and searches for 2008 and 2009 detailed a similar result – at a time when African Americans were disparately being hard hit by the foreclosures when the housing bubble burst. The mortgage crisis in concert with the 2008 economic slump devastated 47 percent of black families’ wealth, wealth which has yet to be recovered.

With 80% of Americans on average earning less than $50,000 and one in two making less than $30,000 annually, it appears that US monetary policy is either tone death or designed to serve the top 10 percent. In some places, especially urban areas and major cities, the unemployment rate is for African-American men between the ages of 18 and 37 is nearly 40 percent unemployment and near 50 percent in cities like Chicago, Baltimore and even Atlanta.


Until the Federal Reserve factor in the experience of black economic conditions when developing and implementing monetary policy, nothing will change. But this won’t change until we who suffer by foul and ineffective monetary policy become more knowledgeable of the issue and remove ourselves from the ridiculous and mundane things we claim to be the most outraged with. Sure they recovery is strong, but only for a small segment of the population, for the average African American it has mainly worsened economic inequities. So forgive me if the removal of a statue, or some millionaire paid to play a kids game is mad supposedly due to police brutality aint that important to me.  I’m mad at this too, but I’m equally upset with the 538 murders and 2,913 shootings in Chicago to date (maybe even more) than the  329 whites, 165 blacks,112 Hispanics killed by police thus far according to the Washington Post. The prior of which is more a function of economic reality of actually failed monetary policy than a rebel flag. But that is just me.

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