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
As I write this, thousands of small businesses are clamoring for urgent SBA loans and so many Americans are filing for unemployment insurance that systems have crumpled across the country. At the same time, the S&P rose over three percent since Monday’s open. The reason for this dissonance lies in the fact that key parts of the financial market have been bailed out while ordinary borrowers are stuck and then some. Saving markets won’t salvage the economy – at its root, the U.S. is a consumption-driven economy. If consumers can’t survive, neither will the economy. The Fed must add a Family Financial Facility to all those it has crafted for the financial market and it should open one fast. In this crisis, time is truly money and money is what most families don’t have.
Continue reading “The Family Financial Facility: Urgent, Overdue, Equitable Fed Support for Those Most in Need”
By Karen Shaw Petrou
When former Fed Chairman Bernanke launched a new approach to U.S. monetary policy earlier this year, he prompted many within and outside the U.S. central bank to call for sweeping change that would solve the “mystery” Janet Yellen says bedevils post-crisis monetary-policy transmission. Just like the blue carbuncle Sherlock Holmes eventually found inside a large goose, central bankers are searching for a new gemstone within reams of data by which to guide increasingly complex policy-transmission channels. Continue reading “The Mysterious Case of the Misfiring Monetary Policy”