Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby JackRiddler » Sat May 16, 2020 3:36 pm

I see serious unrest on the horizon, and the aftermath of this shock doctrine [plandemic]. They better hope their control grid works, cause HELL will be coming


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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby alloneword » Sat May 16, 2020 5:37 pm

Sorry, Jack. Didn't you get the memo? You/we're fucked.

I've increasingly been encountering such phrases as 'why rebuild when we can reinvent?' etc, in relation to 'post-covid' healthcare, education, governance, commerce, you name it ... Escobar just saved me a whole load of typing:

How Biosecurity Is Enabling Digital Neo-Feudalism

Pepe Escobar, May 15, 2020

Italian master thinker Giorgio Agamben has been on the – controversial – forefront examining what new paradigm may be emerging out of our current pandemic distress.

He recently called attention to an extraordinary book published seven years ago that already laid it all out.

In Tempetes Microbiennes, Patrick Zylberman, a professor of History of Health in Paris, detailed the complex process through which health security, so far at the margins of political strategies, was sneaking into center stage in the early 2000s. The WHO had already set the precedent in 2005, warning about “50 million deaths” around the world caused by the incoming swine flu. In the worst-case scenario projected for a pandemic, Zylberman predicted that “sanitary terror” would be used as an instrument of governance.

That worst-case scenario has been revamped as we speak. The notion of a generalized obligatory confinement is not warranted by any medical justification, or leading epidemiological research, when it comes to fighting a pandemic. Still, that was enshrined as the hegemonic policy – with the inevitable corollary of countless masses plunged into unemployment. All that based on failed, delirious mathematical models of the Imperial College kind, imposed by powerful pressure groups ranging from the World Economic Forum (WEF) to the Munich Security Conference.

Enter Dr. Richard Hatchett, a former member of the National Security Council during the first Bush Jr. administration, who was already recommending obligatory confinement of the whole population way back in 2001. Hatchett now directs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a very powerful entity coordinating global vaccine investment, and very cozy with Big Pharma. CEPI happens to be a brainchild of the WEF in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Crucially, Hatchett regards the fight against Covid-19 as a “war”. The terminology – adopted by everyone from President Trump to President Macron – gives away the game. It harks back to – what else – the global war on terror (GWOT), as solemnly announced in September 2001 by Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld himself.

Rumsfeld, crucially, had been the chairman of biotech giant Gilead. After 9/11, at the Pentagon, he got busy aiming to blur the distinction between civilians and the military when it came to GWOT. That’s when “generalized obligatory confinement” was conceptualized, with Hatchett among the key players.

As much as this was a militarized Big Pharma spin-off concept, it had nothing to do with public health. What mattered was the militarization of American society to be adopted in response to bioterror – at the time automatically attributed to a squalid, tech-deprived al-Qaeda.

The current version of this project – we are at “war” and every civilian must stay at home – takes the form of what Alexander Dugin has defined as a medical-military dictatorship.

Hatchett is very much part of the group, alongside ubiquitous Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), very close to WHO, WEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. chapter of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Further applications inbuilt in the project will include all-around digital surveillance, sold as health monitoring. Already implemented in the current narrative is the non-stop demonization of China, “guilty” of all things Covid-19-related. That is inherited from another tried and tested war game – the Red Dawn scheme.


Show me your fragility

Agamben did square the circle: it’s not that citizens across the West have the right to health safety; now they are juridically forced (italics mine) to be healthy. That, in a nutshell, is what biosecurity is all about.
So no wonder biosecurity is an ultra-efficient governance paradigm. Citizens had it administered down their throats with no political debate whatsoever. And the enforcement, writes Agamben, kills “any political activity and any social relation as the maximum example of civic participation.”

What we are already experiencing is social distancing as a political model (italics mine) – with a digital matrix replacing human interaction, which by definition from now on will be regarded as fundamentally suspicious and politically “contagious”.

Agamben has to be appalled by this “concept for the destiny of human society that in many aspects seems to have borrowed from religions in decline the apocalyptic idea of the end of the world”. Economics had already replaced politics – as in everything subjected to the diktats of financial capitalism. Now the economy is being absorbed by “the new biosecurity paradigm to which every other imperative must be sacrificed.”

How to fight against it? Conceptual weaponry is available, such as the courses on biopolitics taught by Michel Foucault at the College de France between 1972 and 1984. They may now be consulted via a decentralized platform set up by a collective which delightfully describes itself as “the crayfish”, who “advance laterally”: a concept that does justice to great rhizomatic master Gilles Deleuze.

Nassim Taleb’s concept of Antifragile is also quite helpful. As he explains, “Antifragile is the antidote to Black Swans.” Well, Covid-19 was a Black Swan of sorts: after all deciding elites knew something like it was inevitably coming – even as lowly Western politicians, especially, were caught totally unprepared.

Antifragile contends that because of fear (very much in evidence now) or a “thirst for order” (natural to any political power) “some human systems, by disrupting the invisible or not so visible logic of things, tend to be exposed to harm from Black Swans and almost never get any benefit. You get pseudo-order when you seek order; you only get a measure of order and control when you embrace randomness.”

The conclusion is that “in the black swan world, optimization isn’t possible. The best you can achieve is a reduction in fragility and greater robustness.”

There’s no evidence, so far, that a “reduction in fragility” in the current world-system will necessarily lead towards “greater robustness.” The system has never proved to be so fragile. What we do have is plenty of indications that the system collapse is being refitted, at breakneck speed, as digital neo-feudalism.


Lost in a biopolitical quarantine

Byung-Chul Han, the South Korean philosopher who teaches in Berlin, has attempted to lay it all out. The problem is he’s too much of a hostage of an idealized vision of Western liberalism.

Byung-Chul Han is correct when he notes that Asia fought Covid-19 with rigor and discipline inconceivable in the West – something that I have followed closely. But then he evokes the Chinese social credit system to mount an attack on China’s society of digital discipline. The system unquestionably allows for biopolitical surveillance. But it’s all about nuance.
The social credit system is like the formula “socialism with Chinese characteristics”; a hybrid that is effective only when responding to China’s complex specificities.

The maze of facial recognition surveillance cameras; the absence of restriction to data exchanged between internet providers and the central power; the QR code that tells whether you’re “red” or “green” in terms of infection; all these instruments were applied – successfully – in China to the benefit of public health.

Byung-Chul Han is forced to admit that does not take place only in China; South Korea – a Western-style democracy – is even considering that people in quarantine should wear a digital bracelet. If we talk about the different Asian models used to fight Covid-19, nuance is the norm.

The Asian-wide collectivist spirit and discipline – especially in Confucianist-influenced societies – works irrespective of the political system. At least Byung-Chul Han admits, “all these Asian particularities are systemic advantages to contain the epidemic.”

The point is not that Asian disciplinary society should be seen as a model for the West. We already live in a digital global Panopticum (where’s Foucault when we need him?) Social network vigilance – and censorship – deployed by the Silicon Valley behemoths has already been internalized. All our data as citizens is trafficked and instantly marketized for private profit. So yes; digital neo-feudalism was already in effect even before Covid-19.

Call it surveillance turbo-neoliberalism. Where there’s no inbuilt “freedom”, and it’s all accomplished by voluntary servitude.

Biopolitical surveillance is just a further layer, the last frontier, because now, as Foucault taught us, this paradigm controls our own bodies. “Liberalism” has been reduced to road kill a long time ago. The point is not that China may be the model for the West. The point is we may have been set up for an endless biopolitical quarantine without even noticing it.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/ ... feudalism/
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby JackRiddler » Sat May 16, 2020 7:15 pm

Oh, believe it, I have not been missing these developments.

New York's Ground Zero for it, or the epicenter of the epicenter as more current usage would have it.

meonsitethatshallnotbenamed wrote:(Where to start, when it's all wrong? Let's stick with local...)

CUOMO SETS UP BILLIONAIRE JUNTA FOR NEW YORK

Zephyr Teachout:

"[...] the two billionaires have disastrous records in the precise areas of public policy they are charged with leading. The Gates Foundation was the driving force behind high-stakes testing regimes and the Common Core fiasco. And Schmidt’s vision of the future is Black Mirror with a bow on it: mass surveillance plus public investment in companies in which he has a stake.

"Even if Schmidt and Gates had good policies, Cuomo’s knighting of them is offensive to American self-government. Nobody voted for them and they are accountable to no one. Cuomo, often accused of being too close to big campaign donors, is tripling down: he is simply allowing billionaires to plan our future directly, taking out the middlemen.

"In case you had any doubt that this is a new form of government worming its way into our old democratic ways, Cuomo anointed these tsars at the exact same time that he took vast new powers away from the state legislature, which has not been holding regular legislative hearings since 1 April. Lawmakers are notably MIA in the middle of a pandemic – and by all accounts Cuomo likes it that way.

"Turning away from locally-elected representatives, and towards billionaires with no accountability, represents a terrible erosion of democratic decision-making: Cuomo is quite literally replacing elected representatives with private, unaccountable monopolists. And too many other lawmakers across the US are doing the same thing. [...]"


(Also, Bloomberg has already been put in charge of the state's pandemic testing regime.)

Why don't people listen to Zephyr Teachout? On the matters of which she speaks, she has always been right. Must we make of her a Cassandra? I'd prefer Governor Teachout, to be truthful.


And of course Naomi Klein - we've had this, haven't we? Well here it is again.

"HUMANS ARE BIOHAZARDS, MACHINES ARE NOT"

This nightmare scenario has only just begun.



SCREEN NEW DEAL
Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia



New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo looks on as Google executive chair Eric Schmidt, left, talks during the Smart Schools Commission report at Mineola Middle School on Oct. 27, 2014 in Mineola, N.Y. Photo: Alejandra Villa-Pool/Getty Images

Naomi Klein
May 8 2020, 12:50 p.m.


FOR A FEW fleeting moments during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the somber grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile.

“We are ready, we’re all-in,” the governor gushed. “We are New Yorkers, so we’re aggressive about it, we’re ambitious about it. … We realize that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend if done the right way.”

The inspiration for these uncharacteristically good vibes was a video visit from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a blue-ribbon commission to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life.

“The first priorities of what we’re trying to do,” Schmidt said, “are focused on telehealth, remote learning, and broadband. … We need to look for solutions that can be presented now, and accelerated, and use technology to make things better.” Lest there be any doubt that the former Google chair’s goals were purely benevolent, his video background featured a framed pair of golden angel wings.

Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop “a smarter education system.” Calling Gates a “visionary,” Cuomo said the pandemic has created “a moment in history when we can actually incorporate and advance [Gates’s] ideas … all these buildings, all these physical classrooms — why with all the technology you have?” he asked, apparently rhetorically.

It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the “Screen New Deal.” Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future.

TOO MUCH MORE GODDAM UNBEARABLE EVIL
https://theintercept.com/2020/05/08/and ... -doctrine/




(As it happens the one with Schmidt was the first Cuomo presscon I'd watched in weeks. REALLY SHOCKING SHIT!)

moi again weeks ago wrote:IF THIS DOESN'T PROMPT A REVOLUTION... (Part 79)

If only New York was home to world-class universities, many of them built by the public, and if only these had whole colleges devoted to obscure subjects like education, medicine, urban planning, transport, agriculture, and public health. Of course, if anything like that existed, it would have to be cut by the governor. I don't really see what choice he has, other than to turn to our benevolent overlords, the men who by virtue of having made ultra-billions are the top experts on everything on earth. He is forced to beg Mike Bloomberg, Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt, and hope they will tell us how to completely redesign all of society, for our benefit. You probably already heard that Gates Foundation is angling to "help" the state transition education to remote learning -- forever. In a similar vein, the special guest at today's Coronavirus State Press Conference was Eric Schmidt.



CNY Schools & Colleges
Critics slam Gov. Cuomo’s plan to ‘reimagine’ NY schools with Bill Gates foundation
Updated May 06, 2020; Posted May 06, 2020

By Geoff Herbert | gherbert@syracuse.com
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing criticism after announcing a plan with Bill Gates’ foundation to “reimagine” schools when they reopen after the coronavirus pandemic.

During a press briefing Tuesday, the New York governor wondered aloud if the “old model” of in-person learning was obsolete with today’s technology. He didn’t say buildings won’t reopen, but said the state is exploring the possibility that K-12 schools will utilize distancing learning in the future.

Cuomo also announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to evaluate possible changes to the education system, including providing more opportunities to students, using technology to reduce educational inequality, and recreating larger class or lecture hall environments with virtual classrooms.

“Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways, and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education he’s spoken about for years,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “But I think we now have a moment in history where we can actually incorporate and advance those ideas.

“We all talk about change and advancement, but really we like control and we like the status quo and it’s hard to change the status quo. But we get moments in history where people say, ‘OK, I’m ready. I’m ready for change. I get it.’ I think this is one of those moments.”

The Gothamist reports at least five organizations have already spoken out against the partnership, citing concerns about the Microsoft founder’s support of standardized testing and Common Core curriculum.

“Both the Gates Foundation and Andrew Cuomo have a history of pushing privatization and agendas that have the potential to destroy public schools," Alliance for Quality Education executive director Jasmine Gripper told the publication. “This collaboration raises a red flag and real questions about what shape our ‘reimagined’ public schools will take post-pandemic, and whether they will be recognizable as public schools at all.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, three groups — New York State Allies for Public Education, Class Size Matters, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy — have already written to Cuomo and state education officials to voice their objections.

“We were appalled to hear that you will be working with the Gates Foundation on ‘reimagining’ our schools following the Covid crisis,” the coalition wrote. “Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation have promoted one failed educational initiative after another, causing huge disaffection in districts throughout the state.

“The education of our children has been repeatedly put at risk by their non-evidence based ‘solutions,’ which were implemented without parent input and despite significant public opposition."

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta added in a statement: “If we want to reimagine education, let’s start with addressing the need for social workers, mental health counselors, school nurses, enriching arts courses, advanced courses and smaller class sizes in school districts across the state. Let’s secure the federal funding and new state revenues through taxes on the ultrawealthy that can go toward addressing these needs. And let’s recognize educators as the experts they are by including them in these discussions about improving our public education system for every student."

New York state schools are closed for the rest of the academic year due to concerns about COVID-19. Cuomo has not said if schools will resume in-person classrooms this fall or what, if any, changes will occur to prevent further spread of the virus that has infected more than 1.2 million in the U.S. and killed at least 70,000 nationwide.

“Let’s learn from this experience,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “We did a lot of remote learning. Frankly, we weren’t prepared to do it, we didn’t have advance warning. But there is more we can do.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, it’s unclear if New York will financially compensate the Gates Foundation or whether it will donate its consulting resources to the state.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to work with New York State on its efforts to ensure equitable access to education for its students in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We will provide further details as they become available.”

[but he still gets photo captions like this one, the fucker...]

Andrew Cuomo
In this April 24, 2020 photo provided by the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo addresses the media while holding an N95 mask during his daily press briefing on COVID-19, Coronavirus, at the State Capitol in Albany, N.Y. The mask was sent to the governor by a retired farmer from Kansas. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)AP


https://www.syracuse.com/schools/2020/0 ... ation.html
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Sun May 17, 2020 12:38 am

"Biosecurity" won't be any more effective than the TSA, though. This is big tech companies, lobbyists and congressional prostitutes trying to run the same plays they always do. I have doubts it will keep working.

The concern over the Plandemic documentary wasn't about the content, but the demand. Nobody believe this shit anymore. The whole Big Apathy lobby is starting to become an active rather than passive majority.

The underlying practical, logistics demands of keeping people fed, clothed and housed enough not to kill government employees is still going to shape the next decade, not the NWO fever dreams of either the ruling class or their blogger critics.

There are famines coming.
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby 8bitagent » Sun May 17, 2020 6:53 am

ughhh. Im starting to hate this timeline :(
https://time.com/5837442/first-global-d ... lifetimes/
Welcome to the First Global Economic Depression of Our Lifetimes
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby JackRiddler » Sun May 17, 2020 8:27 am

Wombaticus Rex » Sat May 16, 2020 11:38 pm wrote:"Biosecurity" won't be any more effective than the TSA, though. This is big tech companies, lobbyists and congressional prostitutes trying to run the same plays they always do. I have doubts it will keep working.

The concern over the Plandemic documentary wasn't about the content, but the demand. Nobody believe this shit anymore. The whole Big Apathy lobby is starting to become an active rather than passive majority.

The underlying practical, logistics demands of keeping people fed, clothed and housed enough not to kill government employees is still going to shape the next decade, not the NWO fever dreams of either the ruling class or their blogger critics.

There are famines coming.


A valuable perspective.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby minime » Sun May 17, 2020 8:51 am

JackRiddler » Sat May 16, 2020 2:36 pm wrote:
I see serious unrest on the horizon, and the aftermath of this shock doctrine [plandemic]. They better hope their control grid works, cause HELL will be coming


I wish, I wish, we hope, we really do.


You're a sick puppy, Jack.
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby dada » Sun May 17, 2020 2:08 pm

JackRiddler » Sun May 17, 2020 8:27 am wrote:
Wombaticus Rex » Sat May 16, 2020 11:38 pm wrote:"Biosecurity" won't be any more effective than the TSA, though. This is big tech companies, lobbyists and congressional prostitutes trying to run the same plays they always do. I have doubts it will keep working.

The concern over the Plandemic documentary wasn't about the content, but the demand. Nobody believe this shit anymore. The whole Big Apathy lobby is starting to become an active rather than passive majority.

The underlying practical, logistics demands of keeping people fed, clothed and housed enough not to kill government employees is still going to shape the next decade, not the NWO fever dreams of either the ruling class or their blogger critics.

There are famines coming.


A valuable perspective.


I like it. Rings true to me. Another bureaucratic inconvenience that must be navigated when necessary, circumvented wherever possible. Society in all its mundane glory.

Kafka's world is sexy, learn to love it. But as for the coming famines, and I'm certain that everyone in the civilized world would agree, the great concern isn't that many people will starve, but which people will starve.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Mon May 18, 2020 4:42 am

dada » 18 May 2020 04:08 wrote:
JackRiddler » Sun May 17, 2020 8:27 am wrote:
Wombaticus Rex » Sat May 16, 2020 11:38 pm wrote:"Biosecurity" won't be any more effective than the TSA, though. This is big tech companies, lobbyists and congressional prostitutes trying to run the same plays they always do. I have doubts it will keep working.

The concern over the Plandemic documentary wasn't about the content, but the demand. Nobody believe this shit anymore. The whole Big Apathy lobby is starting to become an active rather than passive majority.

The underlying practical, logistics demands of keeping people fed, clothed and housed enough not to kill government employees is still going to shape the next decade, not the NWO fever dreams of either the ruling class or their blogger critics.

There are famines coming.


A valuable perspective.


I like it. Rings true to me. Another bureaucratic inconvenience that must be navigated when necessary, circumvented wherever possible. Society in all its mundane glory.

Kafka's world is sexy, learn to love it. But as for the coming famines, and I'm certain that everyone in the civilized world would agree, the great concern isn't that many people will starve, but which people will starve.


You might even say that for the ... Civilised ... world the great concern isn't which people starve it's "we don't care as long as it's not us".
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby Iamwhomiam » Mon May 18, 2020 5:10 pm

“I wish the rent was heaven sent.”

or

Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic


by John Whitlow

April 3, 2020

The poet Langston Hughes once wrote, “I wish the rent was heaven sent.” With 10 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Hughes’ words resonate now more than ever. As we hurtle toward a public health and economic catastrophe, we must reckon with the sobering fact that our federal government is helmed by landlords, real estate developers, and financiers whose fortunes have been made – and whose worldview has been shaped – by years of predatory and extractive business practices. These practices prefigured the federal response to the pandemic and overdetermine the nature of the state-led economic rescue that is already underway.

Jared Kushner is widely regarded as the Trump administration’s behind-the-scenes point person on the coronavirus. Kushner, like Trump, inherited his family’s real estate holdings, updating the business model and expanding its geographical footprint. A New York Times expose from 2017 sheds light on the day-to-day workings of Kushner’s properties in the Baltimore area, where tenants live amidst chronically poor conditions and are subjected to a relentless pattern of petty and meritless litigation. In New York City, Kushner’s residential real estate portfolio has benefited from generous tax incentives and exploited loopholes in the state’s rent laws to remove units from regulation, in the process converting affordable apartments to luxury goods.

The extraction of value that is at the core of Kushner’s business model is based on the multiplication of rents-debts and the intensification of inequalities.

The business practices of Kushner – like those of the real estate industry more broadly – are emblematic of the shifting relationship between the state and the market economy over the past four decades. Beginning in the 1970s, after years of intellectual mobilization by right-leaning economists, neoliberal policies began to take hold in the US and Western Europe. The redistributive functions of the state, established during the New Deal and expanded during the Great Society, were whittled down to a nub, resulting in a tattered safety net and exploding inequalities. At roughly the same time, capital began to move more freely across borders, and once-vibrant economic centers saw massive losses of stable, relatively high paying industrial jobs.

During this period, the power of finance capital grew and real estate became a motor of economic growth. In fact, global real estate now comprises the majority of the world’s assets. The economic centrality of real estate is inextricably linked with financialization, which refers to the expansion of financial services and technologies, and denotes the process through which financial markets have been unleashed, empowering creditors and expanding private debt. Across the country, private equity landlords have bought up swaths of residential properties, preying on tenants of meager means, in the name of short-term value maximization. Though the spread of financialized real estate seems bland and technocratic on the surface, its effects – rent hikes, harassment, evictions – are dislocating and violent. In the words of economic geographer Desiree Fields, the end result is the plundering of “the spaces of existence of the working poor.”

For decades, the bipartisan commonsense has been that government should be run according to market principles. The current administration takes this logic a step further, governing the country like the financialized landlord of a recently purchased ‘distressed asset’: seeking immediate, short-term gain wherever possible – via massive tax cuts and the gutting of already-depleted social programs; nickel and diming workers and poor people; exploiting racist and xenophobic tropes to erode solidarities; seizing on – and expanding – regulatory loopholes; allowing vital public infrastructure to decay, particularly in poor and Black and Brown communities; and casting itself as the insurgent populist that is cutting through entrenched and inefficient bureaucracy.

As it turns out, this mode of governance is particularly ill-suited to deal with the type of crisis we currently face. Despite having a clear window into the near-term trajectory of the coronavirus (see Italy) and a blueprint for how to contain it with relative success (see South Korea), the Trump administration – reportedly under the guidance of Kushner – initially viewed it as a hoax. Then, like a slumlord confronted with well-founded complaints about serious structural conditions, the administration failed to take action. Little to no testing was done initially, leaving the scientific and medical communities at an information deficit regarding the pace and scale of the virus’ advance. This problem was exacerbated by the interplay between our profit-driven healthcare system and our under-resourced medical and public health infrastructure.

In late February, the precipitous decline of the stock market and the inevitability of the virus’ spread left the administration with no choice but to act. The federal response – uneven and incoherent as it has been – can be viewed as a reflection of the worldview of financialized real estate. President Trump’s first instinct, apart from repeatedly referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus,” was to slash the federal payroll tax – this would have given workers in much of the formal economy a small infusion of cash; it also would have starved social security of funding. The $2 trillion bailout passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump is a boon to large corporations and Wall Street. The idea – held by some progressives – that Trump would outflank the Democrats from the left was belied by the paltry benefits offered to workers: a modest one-time check for $1200, extended unemployment benefits, and no relief for renters.

During a stay in New York City in the midst of the Great Depression, the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, shaken by the inequality and alienation of his host society, wrote, “[t]he terrible, cold, cruel part … is Wall Street. Rivers of gold flow there from all over the earth, and death comes with it.” In recent years, these rivers have coursed with lucre from the real estate industry, whose representatives wield state power in much the same way that they made their fortunes – through predation, extraction, grift, racism. As a global pandemic bears down on us all, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable, the bankruptcy of that project is on full display. And death comes with it.

John Whitlow is an Associate Professor at CUNY School of Law.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/03/slumlord-capitalism-v-global-pandemic/
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby JackRiddler » Mon May 25, 2020 4:28 pm

.

Nothing much surprising here.

Bank of America on the new world order: Bigger governments, tech wars, less privacy, and ‘health the new wealth’

Published: May 15, 2020 at 8:36 a.m. ET

By Steve Goldstein

People wear masks as they wait for a bus in Los Angeles on May 14, 2020. Leaving home in Los Angeles now requires bringing a face covering. Associated Press

Traders can’t seem to make up their mind this week. The Dow industrials DJIA, -0.03% fell 516 points on Wednesday and rose 377 points on Thursday. Say what you will about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony or the latest jobless claims data, neither can honestly be characterized as a surprise, so what the market is really doing is trying to grapple with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and when economies will rebound.

Didier Saint-Georges, member of the strategic investment committee at French asset manager Carmignac, says his firm expects what he calls the Japanese path — “low growth, low interest rates forever, ample liquidity supply, in which case equity indices may trade sideways, but high quality growth stocks keep outperforming.” The risk is that of a prolonged recession that even aggressive central banks will struggle to fight, he adds.

For those looking beyond the next few days, Bank of America has released its view of what the world will look like after the COVID-19 upheaval. “We expect this pandemic to accelerate many macro trends that would have taken five or more years to play out before, from peak globalization, to renewed tech wars and a reappraisal of health-care systems and government influence,” it says.

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It sees the rising tensions between east and west, with a third of its analysts now expecting the companies they cover to push for supply chain reshoring.

A second theme is the race for tech supremacy, with half of its analysts expecting higher IT spending, and a wave of moonshot investment.

Big Government will be back in a big way. “COVID-19 has handed governments a new social mandate to protect their citizens. Governments will exert greater influence on businesses with shareholder supremacy potentially eroding in favor of stakeholders,” it says.


This is bullshit. BoA and capital are mobilizing to lobby and shape the crisis their way, and no doubt celebrating that Bernie was folded early. So far in the U.S. under C19, "Big Government" (a giveaway phrase?) has meant the federal government provides unlimited liquidity for the markets, puts up a temporary pittance of relief for some parts of the population to dampen early thoughts people might get that they should fight for their lives, charts a course to bankruptcy for the states and as many public institutions as the motherfuckers can destroy, and opens the gates to replacement of many remaining actual government functions by Google, Gates, Amazon, Bloomberg, et al.

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Stimulus enacted by governments during the crisis.

A fourth theme is that public health will be viewed as national wealth. “COVID-19 will amplify the importance of health care and its social role and accelerate other pressing global public health issues such as drug pricing, antibiotics resistance, future pandemics prevention, [and] universal vaccines for all,” the bank says.

The Generation Z cohort will be “uniquely prepared” for the new era of social distancing, online and sustainability.


JHC, what the motherfuckers have planned for the youth.

By contrast, millennials — hit by the “double downgrade” of graduating into the financial crisis and then being hit by COVID-19 — are “most exposed to earning cuts.”

Another possibility — after the crisis is over, is a baby boom: “as seen after many famines, earthquakes, and disease outbreaks.”

The buzz

The U.S. is blocking shipments of microchips to Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei, according to a Reuters report that sent stock futures lower. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing TSM, -1.87% said it would spend $12 billion to build a chip factory in Arizona, as U.S. concerns grow about dependence on Asia for the critical technology.

U.S. retail sales tumbled a record 16.4% in April, the government reported, as the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index improved to -48.5 for May.

Data from China was mixed, with industrial production rising 3.9% in the 12 months ending April but retail sales sliding 7.5%. Germany entered recession after reporting gross domestic product contracted by 2.2% in the first quarter.
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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby Belligerent Savant » Mon May 25, 2020 10:54 pm

.

This can go in the corona main thread as well:

http://www.benefit-revolution.com/2020/ ... e.html?m=1


Employee Health Screening Apps are Coming - Proceed with Caution


COVID-19 and the resultant business and economic freeze may very well prove to be the largest global event occurring in any of our lifetimes. The loss of lives, livelihoods, businesses and long term effects on mental health and culture are far from complete, yet already devastating. Now, employers grapple with the most significant decision they are likely to ever make: when to come back to work and how.

Many employers will be lured into the siren song of safety above all else and succumb to a balancing act that tips heavily in favor of control and surveillance over individual liberty. I fully understand the impetus. Employers find themselves in a tricky Catch-22. They must do that which is reasonable to protect the health and safety of their workers without trampling on employee privacy, health or liberty.

As the attorneys at Ropes & Gray LLP point out, "[e]mployers looking to introduce these apps may point to their duty under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) to furnish to workers 'employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.'" But as Americans, we have far more individual liberty protection than people in the Asian countries that are months ahead of us and have already implemented sever state, local and employer controls. For example, "China has already introduced virtual health checks, contact tracing and digital QR codes to limit the movement of people. Antibody test results could easily be integrated into this system."

Beyond any employer's legal analysis (which is undoubtedly important) the cultural differences in the United States should oblige employers to proceed with more than a modicum of caution. We have a vast network of federal, state, local and employment laws and regulations protecting our individual liberties. What's more is that inherent and deep love for liberty embedded in our Constitution and our core as a people. American was founded on the concept that liberty outweighs security. As Benjamin Franklin wrote famously in the Pennsylvania Assembly's 1755 reply to the Governor,
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Ropes & Gray nicely summarized these points as such:
Because of contact-tracing apps’ intrusive nature and the laws discussed above, employer-required or employer-implemented electronic contact tracing could be viewed as overreaching. These concerns would be heightened for an employer seeking to implement a blanket requirement that all employees must install and use the app, or seeking to gather and use COVID-19 data of employees when they are off duty. As such, any employer-implemented program should be carefully designed, reviewed, and vetted. In general, consent-based approaches will be easier to implement, particularly if the consent, even if opt-out, is prominent and comprehensive notice of how the information will be used is provided. ...

Finally, public fear of government and corporate mass surveillance is well established. As such, employers may encounter considerable resistance if they require (or even strongly encourage) installation of these apps on employees’ personal smart phones, which have large amounts of personal data and are already subject to heightened legal protections.
Behemoth corporations are now lining up to create such apps. Google, Apple, Microsoft and UnitedHealth are all working on projects to gather up as much as possible about your employees' health and report some of that data back to you. And while none of these companies have discussed going quite this far, Natalie Kofler & Françoise Baylis writing at Nature asked us to:
Imagine a world where your ability to get a job, housing or a loan depends on passing a blood test. You are confined to your home and locked out of society if you lack certain antibodies.

It has happened before. For most of the nineteenth century, immunity to yellow fever divided people in New Orleans, Louisiana, between the ‘acclimated’ who had survived yellow fever and the ‘unacclimated’, who had not had the disease1. Lack of immunity dictated whom people could marry, where they could work, and, for those forced into slavery, how much they were worth. Presumed immunity concentrated political and economic power in the hands of the wealthy elite, and was weaponized to justify white supremacy.

Something similar could be our dystopian future if governments introduce ‘immunity passports’ in efforts to reverse the economic catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea is that such certificates would be issued to those who have recovered and tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes the disease. Authorities would lift restrictions on those who are presumed to have immunity, allowing them to return to work, to socialize and to travel. This idea has so many flaws that it is hard to know where to begin.
Kofler and Baylis went on to list ten reasons they think immunity passports are a bad idea. And while they are looking at a different legal and moral question (government immunity passports vs. employer health tracking apps) note how many of these reasons apply to employers as well:

- COVID-19 immunity is a mystery
- Serological tests are unreliable
- The volume of testing needed is unfeasible
- Too few survivors to boost the economy
- Monitoring erodes privacy
- Marginalized groups will face more scrutiny
- Unfair access
- Societal stratification
- New forms of discrimination
- Threats to public health

On the purely legal front, here is how Ropes & Gray came down on the most prevalent question I've heard from employers:

Can I require my employees to download a contact-tracing app as a condition of continued employment?

In general, private employers likely could lawfully mandate that employees utilize a contact-tracing app, provided that the mandatory program is administered in a manner that is no more intrusive than necessary to meet the legitimate business concern. The permissibility of a contact-tracing app may vary based on differing employment settings, the employer’s business necessity for employee proximity, and whether the employer can implement less intrusive measures to provide a safe environment. For instance, a professional services firm, where the vast majority of employees can (or do) work remotely and thus present no immediate danger to anyone else in the workplace, may have difficulty showing the app is a business necessity and not more intrusive than necessary. On the other hand, an industrial meat-processing plant that requires in-person presence and where the nature of the work prevents social distancing within the plant may readily make the required showing, but note that the app may not be effective if these employees do not keep their smart phones on their person during the work day and, instead, store them in a locker off the factory floor.

Further, employers must ensure that the app is used in a non-discriminatory manner and that any medical or other personal information the employer obtains is stored confidentially and separate from employees’ personnel files. Employers would likely be required to cover the costs associated with the apps or the acquisition of smart phones to run the apps for employees who do not already own smart phones. Employers should seek to obtain consent from employees that authorizes the employer to obtain, use, and disclose to public health officials employee health information and geolocation data, as well as installation of the software for contact assessment and tracing.

Public employers may also mandate use of a contact-tracing app. However, in addition to satisfying the requirements noted above, they must consider the equal protection and due process implications. In particular, with respect to due process, public employers likely must ensure that there is a post-determination appeal process for anyone who has been denied access to the workplace as a result of being identified as COVID-19 positive or at risk based on his/her geolocation contacts. Voluntary employee participation programs may be more defensible from a privacy law perspective, but will require widespread adoption for public health effectiveness.
What about an app that relies solely on an individual's own self-reported COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms? This approach definitely helps to alleviate the legal and ethical burdens an employer will face in the process, but the application can only operate as reliable as the integrity of the individual inputting the data. So while this may help an employer feel that it is doing that which is reasonable to protect other employees, it really might just be engaging in a form or modern-day, corona-security virtue signaling.

Employers must also consider the inevitable data leaks and hacks that will arise from these third party apps. The resultant HIPAA violations, credit monitoring, cleanup and public relations nightmare that will follow will be no small matter. It never is after any sort of employer or third-party leak or hack. In fact, many employers are surprised to learn that an employee's medical record is worth more to hackers than their credit card:

Security experts say cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry, which has many companies still reliant on aging computer systems that do not use the latest security features.

“As attackers discover new methods to make money, the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit,” said Dave Kennedy, an expert on healthcare security and CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. “Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud.” ...

The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information. Fraudsters use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold, or they combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers, according to experts who have investigated cyber attacks on healthcare organizations.

Medical identity theft is often not immediately identified by a patient or their provider, giving criminals years to milk such credentials. That makes medical data more valuable than credit cards, which tend to be quickly canceled by banks once fraud is detected.

Stolen health credentials can go for $10 each, about 10 or 20 times the value of a U.S. credit card number, according to Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at PhishLabs, a cyber crime protection company. He obtained the data by monitoring underground exchanges where hackers sell the information.

What about the strategic storage and use of your data?

Did you happen to notice that one of the giant corporations listed earlier in this post is also a massive, nationwide health insurer? For that entity, every bit of granular data it can extract about your employees allows it to increase your premium as well as its shareholders' profits. Employer health plans should always follow one simple rule in health data management - never, under any circumstance, disclose more about employee health status that absolutely necessary under the law. I generally take this rule one step further as a broker and attorney working in the field. I never, under any circumstances, want to obtain or possess any health or private information than is absolutely necessary under the law. Possessing or knowing that data, or, allowing it to be held in more places than necessary simply open up the employer to more liability and headaches than necessary.

Employers will be presented with countless advertisements and arguments for installing some form of health-tracking application as we consider how to return to the workplace. And I know that many of these arguments will be good ones. I just fear that the counterbalancing arguments in favor of liberty, privacy and lawful data protection will be outweighed in this process as there won't be any gigantic multinational corporations lined up to profit from the sale of common sense, individual liberty and employee privacy.


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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:52 am

This is good, I have to say.

www.forbes.com
The Economic Collapse In 6 Charts

Raul Elizalde
May 18, 2020
https://www.forbes.com/sites/raulelizal ... harts/amp/

The COVID-19 outbreak unleashed an economic catastrophe. The stock market is betting that it will be brutal but short-lived, thanks to massive infusions of monetary and fiscal help. These charts show how brutal it has been. It remains to be seen if it will be as short-lived as the market hopes.

Retail sales

Retail sales sank in March and again in April, much more than at any point since records started in 1992. This is one of the most distinctive features of the current pandemic-induced shutdown because sales had proved resilient before, including the financial crisis. This highlights how hard the crisis has hit the consumer, who until recently was hailed as the pillar of the U.S. economy.

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Industrial Production

This is the output for all U.S. manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities. The monthly decline in March was the largest since the end of WWII in 1945, and in April it was the largest ever, even worse than during the Great Depression of the early 1930s. It is important to note that both times it recovered strongly, and if the economy reopens quickly another strong bounce could be in the cards. Still, this record plunge is another illustration of the disaster that befell on the American economy as a result of the current pandemic.

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Employment-population ratio

This number gives a very good idea of the percentage of the population that carries, so to speak, the whole country’s economy. Like other measures of unemployment, it has reached a record low and it is likely to fall further still. The U.S. is today dependent on the smallest percentage of its population since records began.

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Next: Big reason why police violence and riots are predictable.


Unemployment benefits as percentage of total income

Unemployment benefits are meant to help workers when they are out of a job. The latest numbers shows that as a percentage of personal income, the U.S. population is receiving far less help than during the mid-1970s or the Great Recession of 2008-2009, even though the jobless rate then was much lower than today’s. While the April benefit numbers are not out yet, it is doubtful that the staggering number of unemployed workers will get the help they need. The safety net has been plagued by processing bottlenecks and, like in Florida, by years of systematic defunding.

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Next 2: demonstrating MMT.

Velocity of money

This seldom-discussed but important measure represents how often a dollar is spent to buy goods and services per unit of time. The lower it is, the fewer transactions are occurring between individuals and therefore the weaker the economy’s vitality. The decline has been going on for years, and the tiny rebound of 2017 evaporated as the pandemic struck. The measure is bound to fall further as GDP falls and money keeps being pumped into the system, and probe lower records in the second and third quarter. This shows that much larger amounts of money are needed to have the same stimulative effect, and that’s why printing money has little impact on inflation today.

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Central bank assets

The Federal Reserve used its balance sheet after the financial crisis to stimulate the economy. It had been trying to unwind this “unconventional” aspect of monetary policy, but when the economy was shut down it ramped up instead to avert a liquidity crisis. The Fed is now buying not just U.S. government bonds but also corporate bonds and even bond ETFs. Its balance sheet is 35% larger than all U.S. money in circulation plus checking accounts (M1).

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What now?

Restrictions intended to limit contagion have taken an unprecedented toll on economic activity. If this continues much longer, the damage is likely to be lasting and severe. According to medical experts, reopening of the economy without a carefully crafted plan is highly likely to result in additional deaths and suffering, and even in a devastating second wave of COVID-19 cases.

The U.S. was unprepared for this catastrophe, which is especially disappointing because there were several weeks when the virus spread throughout East Asia and Europe before it hit American shores. But looking back will hardly help matters. The focus has to be on reopening the economy quickly, keeping deaths contained and preventing a second wave.

There are better ways to stimulate the economy than reopening restaurants, barber shops or sports venues. While satisfying, these are dangerous initiatives when we have not yet seen a significant reduction of COVID-19 cases and have little or no impact on raising productivity.

A number of reasonable suggestions to bring back jobs and set the stage for higher productivity include improving wireless and internet connectivity, revamping the energy grid, or fixing the nation’s ageing infrastructure. Others include the retraining of retail, restaurant and travel workers into health-care (such as testing) or other fields of higher productivity, as long as restaurants and drinking places remain closed or avoided. Airlines have been hard hit, but they could ramp up cargo operations as passenger transport dwindles.

Both the damage we have suffered and the challenge ahead demand leadership, consensus, and a strong sense of common purpose. That the pandemic hit when the three are in short supply means that we will also need a lot of good luck to emerge unscathed.

Raul Elizalde
I build and manage portfolios for a broad spectrum of clients at Path Financial LLC, and I focus on addressing risk. I started as a trader for Salomon Brothers in the…



I LIKE NATHAN TANKUS

The Federal Reserve's Coronavirus Crisis Actions, Explained (Part 7)
Riots, Municipalities and Monetary Policy


Nathan Tankus
May 29


This is part 7 of my ongoing coverage of the Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus actions. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here & Part 6 here. It feels a little silly to be publishing a technical series on the Federal Reserve’s crisis response while the United States burns from another round of police murdering Black people. On one level, what’s happening has very little to do with the intricacies of central banking. On another level, they are intimately related. Our macroeconomic policy mix is centered around monetary policy and our fiscal safety net has been increasingly ripped apart. Since fiscal policy is a much more flexible tool that can be targeted to specific sectors and groups while replacing and increasing income and wealth, it is the best tool for dealing with discrete social problems and making sure that no one is left behind. The last major challenge to our economic policy mix came in the 1970s when Coretta Scott King co-founded the Full Employment Action Council to advocate for a legally enforceable right to a job. As Coretta said:

When Martin Luther_King, Jr., left us in 1968, he was leading the struggle for jobs and income for every American. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood that the right to sit at a lunch counter is no right at all when you are without a job to pay for the lunch. He knew that the right to_attend a college is no right at all without a job to finance the education. And the right to live in a decent neighborhood is no right at all Without a job to pay the mortgage or rent. Many of the gains of the last two decades are threatened by the disastrous levels of joblessness among mmonty Americans. I fear that the civil rights legislation we struggled for, and some died for, is about to be repealed by the harsh reality of high unemployment and persistent poverty. [...]

I fear that our leaders and people are coming to accept high rates of joblessness as normal aspects of economic life and are becoming insensitive to the enormous human suffering resulting from massive joblessness. We cannot permit this insensitivity and acceptance to spread. It will cost us too much. It costs the jobless dignity and income. It costs our communities dollars and stability. It costs our Nation socially, economically, and morally. Yes; morally, because failure to respond to the needs of the jobless represents far more than lost productivity and wasted talents. It represents a social callousness and neglect which we ought not tolerate. As a society, we must not accept the notion that some will have jobs and income while others are told to wait a few years and to subsist on welfare in the interim. Our democratic form of government can not long survive with two separate societies—one working, one job less; one hopeful, one despairing.

These words largely fell on deaf ears. A major reason why is the 1960s had riots while the 1970s, to the shock of many, did not. Coretta’s organization organized protests and marches but without the perception that the society was coming apart at the seams, federal policymakers didn’t feel the need to act decisively as they had in the 1960s on other civil rights initiatives. In the late 1960s, people began to realize that civil unrest was often a tradeoff of restrictive macroeconomic policy. As the historian David Stein says in his forthcoming paper:

He [A Phillip Randolph] called for a “vast ‘Freedom Budget'” of $100 billion to abolish poverty. And he reasoned that the 'cost may be vastly less than the chance of another Watts [uprising]." Randolph was not alone in making these sorts of calculations. When a Fortune magazine journalist who focused on race and the economy wrote a letter to White House aide Harry McPherson concerning the conference, he confirmed Randolph's analysis. The journalist commented that "in the usual formulation, policy-makers have to balance the desirability of cutting the unemployment rate against the desirability of maintaining price stability: is a one percentage reduction in the unemployment rate, say, worth a two percent rise [in the inflation rate]? [...] The Relevant question .... may... be, is two per cent inflation too high a price to pay to avoid another Los Angeles riot? What I'm suggesting, in short, is that one of the inputs in discussions about monetary and fiscal policy [should] be the implications of that policy for Negro unemployment and employment.”

By the mid-1970s though, riots were not on the horizon despite a major recession. The Ford administration knew this and former officials have explicitly stated how they were emboldened by this fact. Alan Greenspan, who at the time was Chairman of Gerald Ford’s Council of Economic Advisors, explicitly saw a lack of riots as the reason the Ford administration felt emboldened to pursue austerity in order to “beat inflation” (Hat Tip David Stein):

Things were worse than any of us told him was possible. Worse than I would have expected. Nine percent unemployment rate. If any of us had said there would be a 9 percent unemployment rate and the equivalent in Western Europe, and argued that there wouldn't be any significant social unrest in the United States in Europe or Japan, they would have run us out of the country. We went through that period with a remarkable sense of cohesion in the country. [...]

Goerge Meany was advocating $100 billion deficits and a number of things that we all argued might be supportive in the short-run, but with vast long-term costs to the system. We essentially fended them off, and the major reason we were able to do so is that the response to these higher levels of unemployment was remarkably mild. One of the columnists, it may have been Joe Kraft, wrote something on the unemployment situation here and in Europe, noting the great surprise throughout the world at the failure of social radicalism to emerge as a consequence. Essentially that political milieu enabled us to stay fairly well on stream.

In my view, it's important to contextualize monetary policy in this way as these political issues are inseparable from the technical questions of macroeconomic stabilization. Trying to analyze the technical details of monetary policy without this context is at its core an analytical error. People live or die, and uprise or not, based on the macroeconomic and social policy a society pursues. I write about and advocate shifting to a fiscal policy centered macroeconomic policy framework where financial regulation plays a subordinate distributional, and demand restriction, role because I think that framework is the only that’s up to the task of responding to climate change and the deprivation that’s leading to civil unrest.

That framework may seem unrealistic and far away, but social instability tends to make the seemingly unrealistic possible. The New Deal was unimaginable in the years before it happened- and so was reconstruction. For those of you who are just interested in the technical Federal Reserve details, I will continue to provide them (as the rest of this post will do). But my larger political takeaway is the same. As purchase and sale policy gets more heavily used by the Federal Reserve, and it has politically more obvious distributional consequences between business, state and local governments and households, Federal Reserve policy will become much more popularly political and the only way out of that uncomfortable position for the Fed is becoming a subordinate junior partner to new fiscal policymaking agencies and Congress.

With that, I’m going to move onto the series itself. I haven’t written about the Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus crisis actions since the beginning of May. Partially, that is a result of wanting to focus on other issues. However, it largely comes from the fact that the Federal Reserve hasn’t announced all that much. Below I cover just 6 Federal Reserve announcements, and I felt I was stretching to justify covering 1 or 2 of the announcements below. The big announcement from this month, which is mainly a negative one, is the update to the Municipal Liquidity Facility which made it far more restrictive than many had anticipated. It feels like a painful irony that I’m writing about this just as a major metropolitan area erupted. With that said, it's time to dig into the minutiae ...

May 5th

That Tuesday, the Federal Reserve joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to tweak one of the major liquidity regulations to come out of the financial crisis. Specifically, they are adjusting how The Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility and the Payroll Protection Program Liquidity Facility loans are treated by the Liquidity Coverage Ratio. Recall the definition I provided for the Liquidity Coverage ratio in the very first post in this series:


The major one, Liquidity Coverage Ratios (LCR) applies to banks with more than 250 billion dollars in assets or more than 10 billion dollars of potential exposure to movements in foreign exchange rates. It says that these banks have to have enough “high quality liquid assets” to meet 30 days of net payment outflows (money immediately coming in minus money immediately coming out) based on a “stressed” scenario. The “Tier one” High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA) are treasury securities and settlement balances.

With that definition in mind, let’s examine this rule change. It's worth quoting directly from the Federal Register notice. Incidentally, I should mention that the Federal Register notices on announced administrative rule changes tend to have some of the best official government analysis of the macroeconomic situation and it’s worth reading them occasionally to get a sense of how regulators are thinking about such issues. In this case, I think the Federal Register notice is particularly good:

Absent the interim final rule, under the LCR rule, covered companies would be required to recognize outflows for MMLF and PPPLF loans with a remaining maturity of 30 days or less and inflows for certain assets securing the MMLF and PPPLF loans. As a result, a covered company’s participation in the MMLF or PPPLF could affect its total net cash outflows, which could potentially result in an inconsistent, unpredictable, and more volatile calculation of LCR requirements across covered companies.

Under the LCR rule, secured loans from a Federal Reserve facility with a remaining maturity of 30 calendar days or less are categorized as secured funding transactions with a sovereign entity and assigned an outflow rate that varies based on the collateral securing the loan. In addition, the LCR rule assigns inflow rates to collateral generally based on the asset and counterparty type. As a result of the applicable inflow and outflow rates in the LCR rule, MMLF and PPPLF transactions could receive a non-neutral liquidity risk treatment. Moreover, after these loans are extended and upon their maturity, the associated inflows and outflows could unnecessarily contribute to volatility in LCRs.

Under the terms of the MMLF and PPPLF, covered companies use the value of cash received from posted or pledged assets to repay the MMLF or PPPLF loan, respectively, and in no case is the maturity of the collateral shorter than the maturity of the advance. In addition, because the advance from the Federal Reserve Bank is non-recourse, the banking organization is not exposed to credit or market risk from the collateral securing the MMLF or PPPLF loan that could otherwise affect the banking organization’s ability to settle the loan. For these reasons, the agencies believe that it is appropriate to provide predictable and consistent treatment for participation in the MMLF and PPPLF by neutralizing the effects of participation in the MMLF and the PPPLF on covered companies’ LCRs.

Let’s unpack this. Basically what the regulators are saying is that the Liquidity Coverage Ratio’s formula assigns essentially an outflow risk based on the origination of these loans and a “lack of inflow” risk based on these assets which are inconsistent with the structure of the Federal Reserve facilities. Most notably the Liquidity Coverage Ratio, despite being a liquidity regulation, doesn’t have a mechanism for recognizing when newly acquired assets are “maturity matched” with newly issued liabilities. They are also saying that inflows are basically guaranteed because the loans are no recourse so that the collateral can just be handed to the Federal Reserve at any time. The term finance point is particularly important and suggests the whole design of the regulation is flawed. There should absolutely be preferential liquidity treatment for maturity matching assets with comparable liabilities. In fact, my colleague Rohan Grey’s proposal for shifting us away from liquidity regulation is for all bank loans to be automatically pledged as collateral at the discount window with term loans whose maturity matches the collateral. In this respect, this crisis makes a good case for his proposal and makes our current suite of liquidity regulations look … less than ideal.

May 8th

That Friday, Financial regulators put out a joint policy statement on “allowances for credit losses and interagency guidance on credit risk review systems”. When I first clicked on this press release, I assumed it would be Coronavirus related. Instead, it's the result of a much longer regulatory process that’s been under way for a while. As such, I’m not going to highlight specific elements of it. What’s notable is a) how much of the administrative capacity of the financial regulatory state has been devoted to this activity during the crisis and b) that they aren’t updating these standards for the crisis, at least not yet.

May 11th
That Monday, the Federal Reserve announced an update to its Municipal Liquidity Facility. The central problem with the update is the pricing of the facility. The pricing is onerous, especially punishing municipalities and states judged less credit-worthy by private credit rating agencies. They are charging a 5.9% premium above short term interest rates to below investment grade municipalities. Even triple A rated securities are being charged a 1.5% premium. In addition, there is a .1% upfront“origination fee” for using the facility. Cities and States are unquestionably public infrastructure. Conventional private sector criteria such as credit-worthiness should not be how a program administered by a federal agency is managed during a crisis when lives are on the line. This prohibitive pricing will limit the use of the facility and hamper the Federal Reserve’s crisis response. The Federal Reserve needs to let go of the stingy instinct it has when it comes to sub-federal governments. I’d argue they should be doing the complete opposite thing. Use 14.2(b) “non-emergency” authority to establish unlimited credit lines for every state & local government. The limiting principle should be not their creditworthiness or potential deficit, the limiting principle should be the previous year’s discretionary budget. Let the automatic portions of state and local budgets function as automatic fiscal stabilizers are intended to function and simply limit how much they can increase discretionary spending or cut taxes. This is the proper way to use them as instruments of monetary policy- and to respond to the crisis on the scale it demands. Reversing this decision should be the main demand of any politician, political group or activist who wants to avoid a prolonged and painful depression and want a “life-saving” monetary policy

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May 12th
That Tuesday, the Federal Reserve updated the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) with new information on which borrowers, and the eligible collateral. This seems to be a result from political fallout. The new facility is more restrictive, especially with regard to the international distribution of the borrower’s employees. The borrower must have “have significant operations in and a majority of their employees based in the United States”. What types of assets which qualify have also been restricted. The announcement also states that this facility, as well as the Payroll Protection Program Liquidity Facility, will disclose detailed information about their activities, including the borrowers, on a monthly basis. I generally think that’s a good thing.


May 15th

That Friday, the Fed, the OCC and FDIC put out another statement “tweaking” federal regulations, this time the “Supplementary Leverage Ratio”. This is essentially the rest of the financial regulators ratifying the decision taken by the Federal Reserve, as it independently made this decision on April 1st. Since I covered that action in Part 4 of this series, I’m simply going to repost my comments from then:

This change is attempting to move the Fed away from that market making role by ensuring that private actors absorb treasuries as needed. In addition, the rule also excluded settlement balances held in accounts at the Federal Reserve from the supplementary leverage requirement. This is important for slightly different reasons. The Fed doesn’t have to worry about banks not accepting settlement balances in payment. Instead, the worry is that Federal Reserve actions which increase the banking system’s level of settlement balances will force them to reduce other activities.

In this way, Federal Reserve lending to and purchases from non-bank entities could actually reduce bank lending by taking up balance sheet space and moving financial institutions closer to the asset ceiling set by supplementary leverage ratios. Excluding balances held at the central bank prevents this phenomenon. Other central banks have done this kind of thing in normal times. This is another change that is bound to lead to the question “if it's good enough for a crisis, why isn’t it always good enough?” Leverage ratios that exclude government guaranteed assets, unlimited intraday liquidity and a freely open discount window is a radically different policy suite that should be considered in “normal” times. Unlike now, normal times may require stricter asset-based financial regulations, but that is a feature not a bug.

May 20th

That Wednesday, there was another interagency statement providing “principles for offering responsible small-dollar loans”. The announcement states that it's a follow up on an announcement from March 26th. The essence of this statement is to emphasize that small dollar loan programs would need adequate loan underwriting, no discrimination, reasonable rates and involve successful repayment by a “high percentage of customers”. It’s not clear how such programs could be designed to accomplish such goals during this crisis and provide emergency credit to households in need during this crisis. It is also unclear how this policy is consistent with loan forbearance which financial regulators are encouraging in other circumstances. To me, this policy fundamentally reflects a failure of our cash payment programs and infrastructure. Direct payments to individuals should be providing the “bridge funding” that expansions of small dollar lending programs are meant to help with.

Conclusion

As the crisis seemed to ease overall, the Federal Reserve has slowed down its crisis response. That’s understandable. They are working hard to implement the programs they have already announced. What is not reasonable or understandable is how they have hampered the Municipal Liquidity Facility. They need to completely reverse their attitude to this policy tool. If they don’t forcefully make the case that another administrative agency needs to be empowered to provide Congress with expertise on fiscal policy and ultimately, to conduct some degree of discretionary fiscal policy, this will be the only tool left in their toolbox. The alternative policy, that of increasing corporatist coordination and planning, will not do well in this political climate. I’m curious to see how the Federal Reserve will respond to the riots, especially in the upcoming Humphrey Hawkins hearing. That’s all for tonight! Stay safe everybody.

We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Rural America

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:57 pm

For some reason yesterday I was remembering this personal piece about workers, capital, ideological hegemony and radical potentials in "rural America" from more than a year ago. So I dug it up and I'm posting it in our current economics thread.

Tarence Ray, March 28, 2019
Get Real
What liberals like Paul Krugman still don’t understand about rural America

https://thebaffler.com/latest/get-real-ray

WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED to do with rural America? This is a question that keeps Paul Krugman up at night. It bothers him because he’s both a liberal and a true believer in capitalism. He sees deindustrialization—capitalism’s logical consequence —leaving people behind in rural areas, but he doesn’t have a way to square this troubling fact with a worldview that ostensibly honors the rights and dignity of all people. So he half-asses a few articles every now and then about expanding the social welfare state and increasing governmental spending in rural areas.

Krugman has been on this kick for years. In 2015, he wrote about how the only solution for the deindustrialized wastoids still living in places like Puerto Rico and Appalachia is better social security payments, healthcare, and public services. His reasoning was that some places are sacrificed every now and then to the “shifting tides of globalization.” As a pragmatic economist, Krugman understands that it’s not wise to entirely throw these people away; indeed, you have to preserve some semblance of a labor force in the event that the tides of globalization shift back in their favor.

The thing is that Krugman is right, up to a point. Rural people do desperately need things like healthcare and social welfare benefits. Rural jobs are declining as the nation continues to deindustrialize and more young people flock to the cities. It concerns savvy liberals that people are going to be left out of these patterns of migration simply because they can’t afford to move to where the jobs are. They’ve read about these people in books like Hillbilly Elegy and in the pages of the New York Times. As good liberals, they don’t agree with their political beliefs, but they do believe rural Americans should be helped.

This paradox gives them a lot of stress. Every election, liberals watch conservatives come up big in rural areas, and it annoys them. We could help you, Krugman clearly wants to say, but you’re going to need an attitude adjustment first. But Krugman can’t say that, so instead he has to keep it real. That’s what he did in last week’s column, “Getting Real About Rural America.” He’s not so much concerned with the economic forces themselves that are ravaging rural communities. Krugman, the realist, is instead tackling the hard questions about why these stubborn provincials won’t just start voting for the policies that might actually benefit them.

Krugman would do better to skip the psychoanalysis and examine the way power is actually constituted in rural America.

This question of why the rural working class often votes against its interests has been bugging liberals for a few decades now, and you can’t really blame them. Democrats still held a lot of sway in rural America for the first half of the twentieth century, but then things started to change. Neoliberal economics tore rural regions apart. Both jobs and people left in short order. Now these regions swing predominantly conservative, and liberals are left scratching their heads.

Today, rural America is largely viewed as politically and culturally “a world apart,” when in reality the picture is bleaker: conservatives simply maintain a stronger grasp on power in rural areas than liberals do. Liberals think that the majority of people in rural areas see this as a desirable state of affairs. Many of us don’t. It’s just that our voices have been erased by the overwhelming might of power and industry.

Krugman would do better to skip the psychoanalysis and examine the way power is actually constituted in rural America: to look at why and how ideology is formed, who does the forming, and what material interests are served by it. But he knows his audience, and he knows that they don’t really want to know the answers to those questions because that would mean they would have to actually believe in and fight for something. And they’re not going to do that. They’d rather be at brunch.

As good Marxists, let’s state up front that the primary function of rural areas within the larger national economy is as a supply source of raw materials: food, oil, natural gas, coal, timber, and other resources. To keep these goods flowing out of rural areas —and profit flowing into capitalists’ pockets—freethinking dissent within the extractive regions must be squashed at all costs. Compare this with urban areas, where a greater productive capacity and larger middle classes can absorb and dilute a great deal of dissent. In rural areas, those impulses have to be stamped out before they can really take off; nothing less than the unchallenged flow of profit and resources is at stake. Conservatives understand this, and it’s why one of their foremost political strategies in rural areas is that of social control.

If you live in a rural community, extractive or not, you are likely confronted every day with an onslaught of images, dogmas, and various cultural reinforcements regarding your role within the national social structure. Perhaps the primary location for this “indoctrination” is the local school system. In many rural communities, it is well understood that while state power may be concentrated in the county courthouse, social power—the power to shape the ideological contours of the community, and therefore how it votes, prays, works, and obeys—is concentrated in the local school board.

My hometown of Hobbs, New Mexico, sits on top of the largest continuous oil and gas reserve in the United States. Growing up, we were always told things like “oil is what feeds this family.” Not your hardworking father or his hardworking coworkers, but oil, the shit you pulled out of the ground—that’s what put food on the table. The message was clear: there is a natural order to things, and it all stems from oil. To challenge that order is to risk losing everything.

But this kind of soft indoctrination at home wasn’t even necessary, because it was happening every day at school. Our school colors, black and gold, were meant to evoke the image of oil. The school song, which every student sang before every basketball game, made it clear what it meant to be a student at Hobbs High School:

In the West, ‘mid oil derricks
Friendly flares to view
Stands the best of noble high schools
Hobbs High, here’s to you
Watch the night flares send a radiance
And a grand Hello
Golden land of all that’s worthwhile
Hobbs, New Mexico!!!

Oil derricks. Friendly flares. Night flares. Radiance. The very stuff of oil was built into your identity. Of course, I don’t mean to imply that a bunch of town elites met in the dark of night, Illuminati-style, and explicitly said, “We need to find a clever and unassuming way to preserve a steady labor force for the oil fields, and so we’ll infuse the very identity of that industry with that of the community.” That would put me into conspiracy theory territory.

But there are places where there have been explicit, intentional attempts to police the contours of ideology and to enforce a rigid form of conservative social control. In the mid-1990s, school systems all across Appalachia began implementing a program called CEDAR: Coal Education Development and Resource. The point was quite literally to indoctrinate students in the benefits of coal. Teachers were awarded cash prizes and grants for developing pro-coal curriculum. “Coal fairs,” the coal industry’s equivalent of a science fair, encouraged students to create projects that bolstered support for things like clean coal and coal-to-gas liquefaction.

And perhaps most humorously, CEDAR instituted a program called Mars Invasion 2030, in which students were supposed to “discover for themselves the many similarities between space science and coal mining, as well as between astronauts and coal miners.” According to the CEDAR’s webpage about the Mars program,

The desired outcome is for the students to see not only the similarities between space science and coal mining and the astronaut and coal miner, but to see that like space science, coal mining is a very sophisticated, honorable and important profession. The students will see that the mining industry offers careers that require advanced education in science, math and technology and that it also offers the opportunity for them to stay in their home region and enjoy a career that can provide them with a very high standard of living.

This is both hilarious and astoundingly morbid. Coal mining is a violent industry that kills workers, communities, and ultimately, the planet. But the point of the program was to gloss over these facts for children at the earliest phase of ideological development. The coal industry was trying to cultivate not just a skilled work force, but a complacent one—one that wouldn’t question the many issues with coal mining.

Coal in this scenario, just like oil in my hometown, functions as a kind of signifier; it either represses or devours every form of political expression that isn’t pro-coal. You can project outwards from coal—or oil, or farming—an entire political program that squashes all dissent.

So what exactly is coal supposed to signify here? Coal is noble, masculine, important work. Coal believes in God, country, and sacrifice. It’s not queer but unrepentantly straight. It believes that All Lives Matter. The natural resource itself—the one that puts food on your table—is the pillar that upholds this edifice of belief. Coal upholds the natural order of things. Challenging it means challenging everything. This is why the school board is the most important power structure in the rural community, and why control of it is so heatedly contested: because that pillar must be maintained at all costs.

The only thing capable of breaking the conservative stranglehold on rural communities—and of breaking the power of their foot soldiers in the local school boards, chambers of commerce, and churches—is a nationwide political movement based in the actual interests of the working class: the service industry employees and care workers, the teachers and tenants. That’s because the right wing has their own institutions, programs, and forms of ideological preservation in rural areas. They have invested heavily in them for the last thirty years, and they will not stop until rural America is a useless ecological graveyard. Conservatives see their beliefs gradually losing support, and they have entered death cult mode. They want to squeeze as much profit and as many resources out of rural areas as possible, until we, too, have gone to the graveyard.

You can project outwards from coal—or oil, or farming—an entire political program that squashes all dissent.

The result is a rapidly deteriorating economic landscape that stumps writers like Krugman. When he writes about the economic forces contributing to rural America’s decline “that nobody knows how to reverse,” the “nobody” he’s referring to is himself. Krugman’s liberalism, with its focus on slow incrementalism and social tinkering, has become incompatible with rural economies that are beholden to the whims of increasingly embattled industry. In the days when America’s economy was booming after World War II, when regulations meant to safeguard the financial interests of ordinary people didn’t necessarily threaten the immense wealth that was being produced throughout society, it was feasible that pro-business ideas could coexist with liberal doctrines like human rights and social welfare policies. But in the era of post-industrial capitalism, as wages decline, jobs are relocated, and the social safety net shrinks, it’s become impossible to square that contradiction.

So the best Krugman can offer is a kind of liberal realism: progressive values are simply incompatible with the minds of backwards yokels living out in the provinces, and we need to get real about that. This allows Krugman to erase all forms of rural radicalism: he doesn’t see us as powerless, silenced by the authoritarian regime of conservative social control, because he doesn’t see power at all.

But we know that rural radicalism exists, and we know that the rural working class can exert a great deal of leverage on entrenched power structures. The statewide teacher strikes in predominantly rural West Virginia serve as the best recent example. Our power is growing. It may take some time and experimentation, but conservatives will not reign unchallenged in rural America for eternity. We’ve never stopped fighting back.

Tarence Ray is a writer living in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and is cohost of the podcast Trillbilly Worker’s Party.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: Economic Crash of 2020: The Fuckening

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:25 am

I will confine my commentary here to a sparse "Jesus Motherfucking Christ"

The Federal Reserve said Monday that it will begin buying individual corporate bonds under its Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility, an emergency lending program that to date has purchased only exchange-traded funds.

The central bank also spelled out for the first time how it plans to implement its buying strategy, saying it would follow a diversified market index of U.S. corporate bonds created expressly for the facility. The Fed built the index internally, and a spokesman couldn’t immediately say whether its details would be made public.

“This index is made up of all the bonds in the secondary market that have been issued by U.S. companies that satisfy the facility’s minimum rating, maximum maturity and other criteria,” the Fed said in a statement. “This indexing approach will complement the facility’s current purchases of exchange-traded funds.”

The creation of the index removed a potential hurdle for companies that would have had to certify that they were in compliance with restrictions outlined for the program.
Investors Cheer

U.S. stocks climbed to the highs of the day after the announcement. BlackRock’s iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond exchange-traded fund, the largest credit ETF, jumped 1.9% to hit session highs, while the iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF climbed as much as 1.6%.

The cost to protect investment-grade corporate debt against default dropped the most since April 9, when the Fed expanded the scope of its bond-buying program to include some high-yield debt.

“It’s a significant positive,” said Dominique Toublan, head of U.S. credit strategy at BNP Paribas SA. “The main reason is that they removed the requirement that issuers certify their eligibility. Many investors were worried that this would impair the ability of the Fed to buy bonds.”

The SMCCF is one of nine emergency lending programs announced by the Fed since mid-March aimed at limiting the damage to the U.S. economy by the coronavirus pandemic. With a capacity of $250 billion it has so far invested about $5.5 billion in ETFs that purchase corporate bonds.

The New York Fed said in a separate statement that purchases of bonds from eligible sellers will begin on Tuesday.

Buying Levels

Market watchers said that while the announcement wasn’t a complete surprise, confirmation by the Fed that it would start buying individual bonds in addition to ETFs provided additional support for the bond market.

The program also laid out what might be a wider pallet of bonds than was originally expected, according to Dennis DeBusschere, head of portfolio strategy at Evercore ISI.

“The reason credit spreads are tight is because investors believe that they would follow through on the program,” DeBusscher said. “If they didn’t follow through, credit spreads would move significantly wider and the Fed would have to purchase even more debt to shore up credibility.”

The Fed said it could slow or even pause daily purchases if market functioning showed sustained improvement, though buying could pick back up if conditions worsened again.

An index assures the Fed complies with the spirit of the law under Section 13.3 of the Federal Reserve Act which says emergency lending facilities must be broad based, and provides a mechanism for the central bank to avoid industry concentration.

Earlier Monday, the Fed separately announced that it has opened its Main Street Lending Program for small and mid-size businesses.
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