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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Fed’

Watch “Don’t Be Deceived: The Fed Is The Main Culprit of Rising Prices” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2021

By creating many trillions of new dollars out-of-thin-air, the Federal Reserve set in motion an economic disaster. The warnings are over. Infation is now here. Every excuse imaginable will be offered up as “reasons” for the economic pain. Don’t be deceived. The unconstitutional Federal Reserve is the problem.

https://youtu.be/pNBFgc0N2TM

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Corruption at the Fed: Are America’s Money Masters Engaged in Self-Dealing? | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on September 29, 2021

Documents revealed that Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren made several trades of individual stocks, in some cases worth $1 million or more, in markets where Fed actions have impacted financial performance.

Additionally, several Fed officials personally held the same type of assets the Fed itself was buying.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/corruption-at-the-fed-are-americas-money-masters-engaged-in-self-dealing/

by Jp Cortez

America’s central bankers are tasked with impartial oversight over aspects of the American economy. But could these individuals be making decisions on interest rates and bailout operations based on what is best for their own personal investment portfolios?

After some embarrassing revelations regarding the trading activities of two senior officials, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell abruptly ordered a comprehensive examination last week into internal compliance with an ethics rule directing Fed employees to avoid “actual and apparent conflicts of interest.”

According to the Fed’s official code of conduct, Fed officials are “prohibited from participating personally and substantially in an official capacity in any particular matter in which, to the employee’s knowledge, the employee has a financial interest if the particular matter will have a direct and predictable effect on that interest.”

Documents revealed that Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren made several trades of individual stocks, in some cases worth $1 million or more, in markets where Fed actions have impacted financial performance.

Additionally, several Fed officials personally held the same type of assets the Fed itself was buying.

According to CNBC, Chairman Powell held between $1.25 and $2.5 million of municipal bonds. The bonds were purchased in 2019 but they were in Chairman Powell’s control while the Fed bought more than $5 billion in municipal bonds to support that market.

Fed President Rosengren held between $151,000 and $800,000 worth of real-estate investment trusts that owned mortgage-backed securities – all while the Fed was active in that market.

More specifically, Rosengren made as many as 37 separate trades in four investment trusts contemporaneous to the Fed’s own purchase of almost $700 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve announced last year that it would open a corporate bond-buying facility and purchased almost $47 billion of corporate bonds.

Rosengren wasn’t the only Fed official making money on corporate bonds. CNBC noted that Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin held $1.35 million to $3 million in individual corporate bonds of Pepsi, Home Depot, and Eli Lilly purchased before 2020.

And according to Reuters, Fed President Kaplan’s financial disclosure included several sales or purchases of at least $1 million in individual company shares or investment funds, including Apple Inc. (a stock that’s almost doubled since COVID-relief efforts began in March 2020). In July 2020, the Federal Reserve bought $25.5 million in Apple’s corporate bonds.

So far it’s undetermined whether the above trades violated Fed ethics rules. But to outside observers, it certainly stinks.

America’s central bank exists, ostensibly, to foster price stability and maximum sustainable employment.

In their often misguided and even harmful attempts to monkey with financial asset prices, Fed officials constantly pull different levers of monetary policy and wield an inordinate amount of power over markets and financial institutions.

The potential for conflicts of interest when concentrating such financial power in the hands of a few individuals has always been obvious. Indeed, central bank senior officials may have exercised their power, in part, to increase their personal wealth.

Following disclosures of their trading and the subsequent public backlash, Fed Presidents Kaplan and Rosengren both agreed to divest any holdings of individual stocks by Sept. 30.

However, this half measure hasn’t assuaged the critics, who point out the ongoing market interventions by the Federal Reserve have disproportionately benefited owners of assets while the Fed’s resulting price inflation in foodhousing, and medicine have especially hurt savers, wage earners, and pensioners.

Far from achieving their supposed goal of creating price stability, Fed officials seem to have deliberately engineered widespread price increases and inflated potentially dangerous bubbles in asset markets.

Turning to sound money would ensure the purchasing power of Americans isn’t sapped away by bureaucrat bankers with ulterior motives.

Unlike the central bankers’ depreciating fiat currencies, physical gold and silver are incorruptible, free-market forms of money that retain their purchasing power over time.

This article was originally featured at Money Metals

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Why the Fed Is So Desperate to Hide Price Inflation

Posted by M. C. on September 9, 2021

Otherwise, as noted earlier, rising interest rates would collapse the debt pyramid and result in a collapse in output and employment. It is, therefore, no wonder that the Fed is doing whatever it can to hide the inflationary consequences of its policy from the public:

Thorsten Polleit

Speaking at the Jackson Hole meeting on August 27, 2021, Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman Jerome J. Powell indicated that he supported “tapering” toward the end of this year and hastened to add that interest rate hikes are still a long way off. The term “tapering” means that the central bank reduces its monthly purchases of bonds and slows down the monthly increase in the quantity of money accordingly. In other words, even with tapering, the Fed will still churn out newly printed US dollar balances, but to a lesser extent than before; that is, it will still cause monetary inflation, but less than before. 

Financial markets were not alarmed by the Fed’s announcement that it might take its foot off the accelerator pedal a little: ten-year US Treasury yields are still trading at a relatively low level of 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 stock index hovers around record highs. Could it be that investors do not believe in the Fed’s suggestion that tapering will begin soon? Or is tapering of much lower importance for financial market asset prices and economic activity going forward than we think? Well, I believe the second question nails it. To understand this, we need to point out that the Fed has put a “safety net” under financial markets.

As a result of the politically dictated lockdown crisis in early 2020, investors feared a collapse of the economic and financial system. Credit markets, in particular, went wild. Borrowing costs skyrocketed as risk premiums rose drastically. Market liquidity dried up, putting great pressure on borrowers in need of funding. It wasn’t long before the Fed said it would underwrite the credit market, that it would open the monetary spigots and issue all the money needed to fund government agencies, banks, hedge funds, and businesses. The Fed’s announcement did what it was supposed to do: credit markets calmed down. Credit started flowing again; system failure was prevented.

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In fact, the Fed’s creation of a safety net is nothing new. It is perhaps better known as the “Greenspan put.” During the 1987 stock market crash, then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates drastically to help stock prices recover—and thus set a precedent that the Fed would come to rescue in financial crises. (The term “put” describes an option which gives its holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price within a specified time frame. However, the term “safety net” might be more appropriate than “put” in this context, as investors don’t have to pay for the Fed’s support and fear an expiry date.)

The truth is that the US dollar fiat money system now depends more than ever on the Fed to provide commercial banks with sufficient base money. Given the excessively high level of debt in the system, the Fed must also do its best to keep market interest rates artificially low. To achieve this, the Fed can lower its short-term funding rate, which determines banks’ funding costs and thus bank loan interest rates (although the latter connection might be loose). Or it can buy bonds: by influencing bond prices, the central bank influences bond yields, and given its monopoly status, the Fed can print up the dollars it needs at any point in time.

Or the Fed can make it clear to investors that it is ready to fight any form of crisis, that it will bail out the system “no matter the cost,” so to speak. Suppose such a promise is considered credible from the financial market community’s point of view. In that case, interest rates and risk premiums will miraculously remain low without any bond purchases on the part of the Fed. And it is by no means an exaggeration to say that putting a safety net under the system has become perhaps the most powerful policy tool in the Fed’s bag of tricks. Largely hidden from the public eye, it allows the Fed to keep the fiat money system afloat.

The critical factor in all this is the interest rate. As the Austrian monetary business cycle theory explains, artificially lowering the interest rate sets a boom in motion, which turns to bust if the interest rate rises. And the longer the central bank succeeds in pushing down the interest rate, the longer it can sustain the boom. This explains why the Fed is so keen to dispel the notion of hiking interest rates any time soon. Tapering would not necessarily result in an immediate upward pressure on interest rates—if investors willingly buy the bonds the Fed is no longer willing to buy, and/or if the bond supply declines.

But is it likely that investors will remain on the buy side? On the one hand, they have a good reason to keep buying bonds: they can be sure that in times of crisis, they will have the opportunity to sell them to the Fed at an attractive price; and that any bond price decline will be short lived, as the Fed will correct it quickly. On the other hand, however, investors demand a positive real interest rate on their investment. Smart money will rush to the exit if nominal interest rates are persistently too low and expected inflation persistently too high. The ensuing sell-off in the bond market would force the Fed to intervene to prevent interest rates from rising.

Otherwise, as noted earlier, rising interest rates would collapse the debt pyramid and result in a collapse in output and employment. It is, therefore, no wonder that the Fed is doing whatever it can to hide the inflationary consequences of its policy from the public: the steep rise in consumer goods price inflation is being dismissed as only “temporary”; asset price inflation is said to be outside the policy mandate, and the impression is given that increases in stock, housing, and real estate prices do not represent inflation. Meanwhile, the increase in the money supply—which is the root cause of goods price inflation—is barely mentioned.

However, once people begin to lose confidence in the Fed’s willingness and ability to keep goods price inflation low, the “safety net trickery” reaches a crossroads. If the Fed then decides to keep interest rates artificially low, it will have to monetize growing amounts of debt and issue ever-larger amounts of money, which, in turn, will drive up goods price inflation and intensify the bond sell-off: a downward spiral begins, leading to a possibly severe devaluation of the currency. If the Fed prioritizes lowering inflation, it must raise interest rates and reign in money supply growth. This will most likely trigger a rather painful recession-depression, potentially the biggest of its kind in history.

Against this backdrop, it is difficult to see how we could escape the debasement of the US dollar and the recession. It is likely that high, perhaps very high, inflation will come first, followed by a deep slump. For inflation is typically seen as the lesser of two evils: rulers and the ruled would rather new money be issued to prevent a crisis over allowing businesses to fail and unemployment to surge dramatically—at least in an environment where people still consider inflation to be relatively low. There is a limit to the central bank’s machinations, though. It is reached when people start distrusting the central bank’s currency and dumping it because they expect goods price inflation to spin out of control.

But until this limit is reached, the central bank still has quite some leeway to continue its inflationary policy and increase the damage: debasing the purchasing power of money, increasing overconsumption and malinvestment, and making big government even bigger, effectively creating a socialist tyranny if not stopped at some point. So, better stop it. If we wish to do so, Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) tells us how: “The belief that a sound monetary system can once again be attained without making substantial changes in economic policy is a serious error. What is needed first and foremost is to renounce all inflationist fallacies. This renunciation cannot last, however, if it is not firmly grounded on a full and complete divorce of ideology from all imperialist, militarist, protectionist, statist, and socialist ideas.”1

  • 1. Ludwig von Mises, “Stabilization of the Monetary Unit–from the Viewpoint of Theory (1923),” in The Cause of the Economic Crisis. And Other Essays before and after the Great Depression, edited by Percy L. Greaves Jr. (Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), p. 44, appendix.

Author:

Thorsten Polleit

Dr. Thorsten Polleit is Chief Economist of Degussa and Honorary Professor at the University of Bayreuth. He also acts as an investment advisor.

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The Smart Money Has Already Sold – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 21, 2021

Generations of punters have learned the hard way that their unwary greed is the tool the Smart Money uses to separate them from their cash and capital. The tricks outlined in Reminiscences of a Stock Operator may have changed over time, but the game of selling at the top while stretching out the top to enable massive selling without moving markets is very much alive and well.

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug21/smart-money-sold8-21.html

Charles Hugh Smith

Generations of punters have learned the hard way that their unwary greed is the tool the ‘Smart Money’ uses to separate them from their cash and capital.

The game is as old as the stock market: the Smart Money recognizes the top is in, and in order to sell all their shares, they need to recruit bagholders to buy their shares and hold them all the way down. Once the catastrophic losses have been taken by the bagholders, then the Smart Money slowly builds up positions amidst the wreckage.

It’s easy to become a bagholder; all you need is greed. Been there, done that, for the siren songs luring bagholders to their ruin are compelling and numerous. The Smart Money doesn’t have to mislead anyone; all they do is let the strident super-Bulls talk up the riches to be had by all those who buy today and hold indefinitely, and human greed does the rest.

Siren songs to lure the unwary greedy include these classics:

1. The Fed has our back, i.e. the Fed will never let stocks go down, so there’s no risk in buying more shares today.

2. Innovation stocks can only go higher as they create new industries that are the future of the economy.

3. Institutional buyers are coming in, and that means prices can only go higher.

4. This is a new era, old measures of valuation no longer matter.

5. Over time, stocks only go higher, so buy and hold is the winning strategy.

The greatest ally of the Smart Money is buy the dip, as the bagholders trained to buy the dip will continue buying every dip on the way down until their capital is expended. Bagholders see every rally off a dip as proof buy the dip works, when every rally off a dip has been engineered to suck in bagholders.

Every rally is another opportunity to sell for the Smart Money.

The greatest hindrance to the Smart Money selling is low volume. The main point of selling is to dribble out shares in such modest doses that the price doesn’t move. If a big block of shares is dumped all at once, then the price collapses in low-volume markets. So the Smart Money sells slowly and methodically, transferring 100 million shares over time to a million bagholders who each buy 100 shares.

When questioned, the Smart Money prevaricates with generalities rather than show their hands. The market is “constructive” and “supportive of equities,” etc., meaningless terms intended to mask their steady selling and lull the bagholders into a false confidence in the Fed, innovation leaders, buy the dip, this time it’s different, etc.

The Smart Money can count on one thing: greed is sticky. Once a bagholder has decided that Innovation-XYZ is their one-way ticket to unearned wealth–just look at all the newly minted millionaires who did nothing but trade call options in Innovation-XYZ–then the Smart Money knows the bagholder will never let go of that belief until there’s no more money to throw into call options.

Generations of punters have learned the hard way that their unwary greed is the tool the Smart Money uses to separate them from their cash and capital. The tricks outlined in Reminiscences of a Stock Operator may have changed over time, but the game of selling at the top while stretching out the top to enable massive selling without moving markets is very much alive and well.

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NO RESERVE REQUIREMENT: The Fed will replace fractional reserve banking with NO RESERVE BANKING and 0% interest rates. Thousands of banks now free to create limitless amounts of loans without any reserves.

Posted by M. C. on August 15, 2021

Oops, missed this one from a year and a half ago.

Banks can lend out all savings holding nothing in reserve to fund withdrawals. If your bank goes belly up, can there be a bank run if there is nothing to run with?

https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/no-reserve-requirement-the-fed-will-replace-fractional-reserve-banking-with-no-reserve-banking-and-0-interest-rates-thousands-of-banks-now-free-to-create-limitless-amounts-of-loans-without-any-reser/

Historically, banks are required to keep 10% of their loaned-out capital in reserves. However, the Fed just took an extraordinary step of reducing that to 0%.

Banks no longer to keep any assets in reserve. This will turn a house of cards into a gargantuan palace of cards.

See the rest here

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Central Planners Don’t Have A Clue, So Don’t Trust The Fed

Posted by M. C. on August 7, 2021

Central planning always fails, without exception. Civilization is never created from a blueprint developed in the imaginations of a few elitists. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Civilization is always destroyed by central planners. So why do people constantly find themselves suffering under the yolk of utopians, when the only possible endgame is failure?

Central Planning = distortion and disaster

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The US Housing Bubble Visualized – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 31, 2021

Sell now, buy later.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/no_author/the-us-housing-bubble-visualized/

By Bern in Williamsburg, VA

Take a look at what the FED’s manipulation of interest rates has done to housing prices.  The chart below is from the data on their own website.  It’s in real dollars and the indices synch perfectly.  The USA is currently in the biggest housing bubble of all time.  A “correction” in the stock market will bring down housing also.  It’s going to be a mess.  And it could have been avoided if only there was “honest” money management at the FED.

I also downloaded the data and added a regression line for the Case Shiller Index.  It’s just another way to visualize the bubble we’re in.  I’ve given up on buying a house now because I don’t want to own a property that will be significantly underwater when housing corrects.  There’s no way that “normal” inflation can explain these prices.  It’s all been done by the dishonest policies of the FED serving their own interests and their banking clients.

Keep plugging away……..

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Toilet Paper Rolls Are Getting Smaller. Blame the Fed. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

“Over the years, Edgar Dworsky has documented the downsizing of everything from Doritos to baby shampoo to ranch dressing. ‘The downsizing tends to happen when manufacturers face some type of pricing pressure,’ he says. For example, if the price of gasoline or grain goes up,” Rosalsky explained.

What the NPR scribe misses is inflation’s breakdown of the division of labor. Average folk, not savvy Homo economicus types, have to pump their own gas, scan their own groceries, and, probably worst of all, manage their own retirement funds.

https://mises.org/wire/toilet-paper-rolls-are-getting-smaller-blame-fed

Doug French

A term has been coined for product sellers who shrink their packages, and thus, the amount of product in those packages, keeping the package price the same: shrinkflation. Anyone with a bit of good sense or economics training knows this is another form of price inflation, caused by what used to be the dictionary meaning of inflation; an increase in the supply of money. 

For example, while the average American behind continues to widen, toilet paper has narrowed. A friend’s mother busted out a ruler to confirm her theory. Last year John Hebbe of Fairfax, Virginia, provided photographic proof to the Washington Post: an old roll was 4.5 inches wide, a new roll, 3.75 inches. Of course the new rolls are fatter, for now, causing annoyance with home owners with toilet paper dispensers with the roller too close to the wall to accommodate the fatter rolls. 

Greg Rosalsky wrote for NPR.org, “The original Charmin roll of toilet paper, [Edgar Dworsky, former Massachusetts assistant attorney general,] says, had 650 sheets. Now you have to pay extra for “Mega Rolls” and “Super Mega Rolls”—and even those have many fewer sheets than the original. To add insult to injury, Charmin recently shrank the size of their toilet sheets. Talk about a crappy deal.” 

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Source: WBUR.

“Downsizing is really a sneaky price increase,” Dworsky told NPR. “Consumers tend to be price conscious. But they’re not net-weight conscious. They can tell instantly if they’re used to paying $2.99 for a carton of orange juice and that goes up to $3.19. But if the orange juice container goes from 64 ounces to 59 ounces, they’re probably not going to notice.”

Homo economicus is assumed to notice this trickery pokery in neoclassical economics theory. Oliver Kim wrote in The Crimson, “But here’s a confession: Homo economicus is at most a useful fiction—in economic jargon, a model. Human beings do not actually think like Scrooge McDuck, but, in approximation and in aggregate, we often behave like we do.”

“Over the years, Edgar Dworsky has documented the downsizing of everything from Doritos to baby shampoo to ranch dressing. ‘The downsizing tends to happen when manufacturers face some type of pricing pressure,’ he says. For example, if the price of gasoline or grain goes up,” Rosalsky explained.

What the NPR scribe misses is inflation’s breakdown of the division of labor. Average folk, not savvy Homo economicus types, have to pump their own gas, scan their own groceries, and, probably worst of all, manage their own retirement funds.

Since the government has deemed its paper tickets and computer digits to be money, Murray Rothbard wrote, “then the government, as dominant money-supplier, becomes free to create money costlessly and at will. As a result, this ‘inflation’ of the money supply destroys the value of the dollar or pound, drives up prices, cripples economic calculation, and hobbles and seriously damages the workings of the market economy.” That would include the division of labor. 

“As we’re seeing inflation picking up now, that’s why I think you’re going to see more items being downsized,” Dworksy told Rosalsky. “And maybe it’s going to be a double-whammy: We’re going to see some products going up in price at the same time that you’re actually getting less in the package.”

A Charmin spokeswoman, when confronted by reporters at WBUR about shrinking the size of their toilet sheet squares, pulled an explanation out of her you-know-what, suggesting it was the result of “innovations” allowing “consumers to, basically, wipe their butts more efficiently.” 

Rosalsky, writing from NPR La La Land believes, “consumers will start to notice and voice concern and the power of consumer demand will force companies to listen and right-size their products.” Right-size? What’s the right size? 

Don’t blame Charmin, as Ludwig von Mises explained. “[I]f the ruling party does not want to imperil its popularity by heavy taxation, it takes recourse to inflation.”

Consumers should complain to those working at the Eccles Building producing money, not to those in the private market producing toilet paper.  Author:

Doug French

Douglas French is former president of the Mises Institute, author of Early Speculative Bubbles & Increases in the Money Supply, and author of Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Ownership Myth. He received his master’s degree in economics from UNLV, studying under both Professor Murray Rothbard and Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Go green on housing with no additional cost

Posted by M. C. on June 4, 2021

“Go green on housing with no additional cost”

The point here is “no additional cost” really means “free government money” pays the tab. This person, vice president of the Environment Program at the JPB Foundation, is delusional.

Free government money comes from 3 places. Taxes (not free to the taxpayer), loans from other countries and entities (the resultant interest is not free) and printing money which generates the hidden tax that is inflation which is now again rearing it’s ugly head (paid for by everyone).

The sad part is the author and most of the unwashed masses may actually believe free government money is really a free lunch.

The real housing crisis is sky high home prices. And that is courtesy of free government money supplied by the Fed.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=276b95073_1345dd0

Go green on housing with no additional cost

Your Turn Dana Bourland | Guest columnist Two of the biggest problems we face today — a shortage of decent, affordable housing and climate change — are connected. Fortunately, the solutions are connected as well. That’s why we must not only ‘build back better’ in the wake of pandemic and recession, but build back greener.

Most housing in the United States is inefficient and expensive to heat and cool. That means high utility bills and higher carbon emissions; residential energy use accounts for a fifth of climate-changing greenhouse gases emitted in the United States.

At the same time, the facilities that produce the power to build and operate our homes — like coal-fired power plants — contribute to a changing climate. Because they are often located in communities of color, these facilities also exacerbate environmental injustice. And producing the petrochemicals used in adhesives, cabinets, carpets, insulation and other building materials not only contributes to climate change, but pollutes the air outside and inside our homes.

The good news is that we can address our housing crisis and our climate crisis with green affordable housing at no additional cost.

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan includes a large allocation for housing — an important first step. And the much-needed recent expansion of the Weatherization Assistance Program will make homes more comfortable and efficient.

But these investments can accomplish so much more, by ‘greening’ the entire building supply chain. That means going beyond energy consumption in our homes to address energy usage and petrochemicals in the manufacturing and transportation of materials.

In other words, how we build is as important as what we build. We can’t make one home green while polluting other communities in the process.

Biden’s ‘American Jobs Plan’ calls for investing $213 billion in the nation’s housing infrastructure. This includes $40 billion to repair public housing, $45 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund, an expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher program and more.

The administration can ‘green’ this investment by requiring these programs to use holistic green affordable housing criteria. These should go beyond energy efficiency to include the use of sustainably produced, non-toxic building materials. In this way, the infrastructure bill could stabilize the climate and improve public health while expanding access to affordable housing.

Similarly, the Weatherization Assistance Program could be expanded to include health and safety improvements as well as energy-efficiency upgrades, creating well-paying jobs for contractors while reducing triggers for asthma and other health impacts.

To solve our housing and climate crises, we must integrate how we think about both. We do not have the time or the resources to meet our housing crisis without considering how to meet our climate crisis. And if new investments in infrastructure deploy green building practices, we can score a triple win for housing, health and the climate.

Dana Bourland is vice president of the Environment Program at the JPB Foundation and author of ‘Gray to Green Communities: A Call to Action on the Housing and Climate Crises.’

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Weekly Update — The ‘Woke’ Fed

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2021

The use of the woke agenda as an excuse to further politicize the allocation of capital and continue to expand the Fed’s easy money, low interest rate policy will hasten and deepen the next economic crisis.

Prioritizing certain approved companies. Like Solyndra and other entities not likely to be able to pay back the loans.

AUDIT THE FED

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