By Matthew Shaw and Karen Petrou
Every three years, the Federal Reserve releases a unique, illuminating data set, the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The most recent report covering 2016 to 2019 comes at a time of acute political risk for the U.S. central bank due to growing demands for a third, “racial-equity” mandate and heightened recognition of the inequality impact of post-crisis monetary policy. Perhaps for this reason, the Fed’s qualitative release and much subsequent media coverage highlighted what the Fed described as meaningful reductions in both wealth and income inequality. Would it were so – percentages sometimes work in the Fed’s favor, but real dollars in people’s pockets, or the acute lack thereof, don’t.
Continue reading “The Dollars That Make a Difference: Results of the New Survey of Consumer Finances”
By Karen Petrou
- African-Americans were better off before the civil-rights era began than they were in mid-2019.
- Truly huge disparities lie between white and black Americans in terms of income, wealth, and inter-generational mobility.
- And that was before COVID eviscerated low-income households of color from both a health and economic point of view.
- It’s past time for equality-focused financial policy, starting first with Equality Banks.
Continue reading “Trying to Get By While Black”
By Basil N. Petrou and Karen Shaw Petrou
At a recent meeting with senior White House and Congressional budget experts, we revisited the benefits of using federal guarantees to drive private capital to public need. Much of the discussion centered on taxpayer protection, a significant challenge due to risk-taking incentives baked into the federal budgeting process. There are many reasons – billions of them in fact – to reject the budgeting approach mandated by the Federal Credit Reform Act (FCRA) in favor of a fair-value methodology. Less known and not discussed is an issue of equal importance: getting guarantees right not just for taxpayers, but also for the regulated financial companies from which the private capital for successful guarantees must come. Here, we lay out principles for equality-enhancing guarantees that meet needs ranging from sound mortgage lending to translational biomedical research. Continue reading “Guarantees that Deliver the Equality Goods”
By Karen Shaw Petrou and Basil N. Petrou
Last Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee considered the confirmation of Brian Montgomery to be the Trump Administration’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner, allowing him to step back in to the shoes he filled in the George W. Bush Administration. But, times are different now – as we’ve noted before, the U.S. is far less economically equal than it was even in 2007 and the residential-mortgage market largely serves only the most creditworthy, wealthiest households.
Continue reading “Home Ownership, Wealth Accumulation, and the FHA”