By Karen Petrou
- Judging U.S. rulemaking by its benefits to the public good, not just by its impact on private wealth, is transformational and, with a new CBA methodology, also more than possible.
- Equitable rules can be both effective and efficient.
- Maximizing the public good is not synonymous with redistribution or reverse discrimination.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order (EO) 12866, creating hurdles ahead of federal rules that are “economically significant.” This was measured by a cost of $100 million or more. On January 20, President Biden began a long-overdue rewrite, stipulating that federal rules are henceforth to be judged not just by their impact on private wealth, but also by what becomes of the public good.
Continue reading “Rules We Can Really Live By”
By Karen Petrou
Starting with our very first EconomicEquality blog post, we demonstrated the direct link between quantitative easing (QE) and the sharp rise in U.S. wealth inequality that differentiates this recovery from all that came before. QE exacerbates inequality because, combined with post-crisis rules and ultra-low rates, it creates a market dynamic in which banks hold huge excess-reserve balances instead of making equality-essential loans and markets relentlessly chase yield, increasing equity valuations and driving credit to borrowers such as highly-leveraged companies. In 2019, the Fed bulked up its portfolio in what is now known as QE-lite in hopes of rescuing the repo market, reinvigorating sputtering equity markets no matter the Fed’s ongoing insistence that this round of portfolio increases isn’t QE. Continue reading “Wheelies on the Yield Curve: Inequality, Disintermediation and the Hazards of New QE”
By Federal Financial Analytics
In remarks on Tuesday, Karen Petrou will lay out two reasons why post-crisis financial regulation makes America less equal: rules are is aligned with real-world business incentives and capital standards unduly penalize equality-critical lending. Basing her views on Federal Reserve research, Petrou focuses on the Durbin Amendment, qualified-mortgage standards, small-dollar/short-term lending, and subprime mortgages. Continue reading “The Inequality Under-Belly of “Sound” Consumer Finance”
By Karen Petrou
After crafting the initial features of the post-crisis bank-regulatory framework, global and U.S. policy-makers were dumbfounded to discover that costly new rules changed the competitive financial-market balance. Mirabile dictu, when costs rose for banks, banks changed their business model to cling to as much investor return as possible instead of, as regulators apparently expected, taking it on the chin to ensure ongoing financial-service delivery at whatever pittance of a profit remained. As markets rapidly and in some cases radically redefined themselves, global regulators dubbed the beneficiaries of this new competitive landscape “shadow banks.” At the most recent meeting of the FSB Plenary, they changed shadow banks to the less stealthy moniker of “non-bank financial intermediaries.” A new BIS working paper shortens the scope of shadow banking to “market-based finance,” going on to assess a fundamental question: does the transformation of financial intermediation from banks to non-banks alter the income and equality landscape? The answer: It’s complicated. Continue reading “This Little Equality Goes to Market”
By Karen Shaw Petrou
Yes, I know – getting the post office into finance when you despair of getting your own mail, not the neighbor’s, is a stretch. But the economics of small-dollar banking under the post-crisis monetary and regulatory framework force a hard choice: create an equality-focused utility for otherwise-unbankable customers or consign them to the only financial sector that profits from them: predatory companies. Maybe someday fintech will figure out a way to handle huge volumes of small transactions, but some day is far away and un- and under-banked customers are losing income and wealth every day they cannot obtain affordable, sustainable financial services. Continue reading “What a Post-Office Bank Can and Can’t Do for Economic Equality”