No. 261 – 40% of People Earning Below $40K Lost Jobs

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Remarks on Current Economic Issues – The Federal Reserve chair spoke at an event hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Affairs. Before I get into Jerome Powell’s remarks, it’s worth dwelling a bit on the Peterson Institute. The place is named after Pete G. Petersen, an investor who became a billionaire after The Blackstone Group, the private equity firm he founded with Steve Schwarzman, went public. While a massive windfall, that was not his first taste of professional success. He had been CEO of Lehman, Secretary of Commerce, CEO of other companies, and more long before launching Blackstone. Before he passed away, I remember watching interviews he did and the man was all about fiscal responsibility. Apparently, he was known for that over the course of his career. I wonder what he’d have to say about the money being spent to deal with this pandemic.

Pandemic — the impact COVID-19 is having is hard to wrap my mind around. In his prepared remarks, Jerome Powell said that about 40% of people earning below $40,000 have lost their jobs in the past two months. Sit with that. According to the Brookings Institution, whose building sits across the street from the Peterson Institute, reported that median income for Black households had risen to $41,511 as of 2018. Tomorrow, the Federal Reserve is releasing the rest of the survey results from which they got this data. If they have job losses broken about by race, I venture a guess it will be heartbreaking.

Later in his remarks, Chairman Powell describes how the Federal Reserve has essentially thrown everything tool it has available to address the pandemic. Yet, the Federal Reserve may need to do more. Digest that while processing that a whole lot of vulnerable people still lost their jobs. Like I said, it’s hard to wrap my mind around the impact of this pandemic. When we’re finally able to after this pandemic has passed, we’ve got real work to do to ensure vulnerable folks aren’t this vulnerable anymore.

The African Legal Support Facility holds 11th Governing Council meeting – It’s good to see the African Development Bank continues its effort to support countries in negotiating large, complex transactions. Countries really need the agreements they enter to be rock solid considering the economic situation we’re in and how hard it is to come by money these days.

This Is How Hard It Is to Invest in Black Neighborhoods – This is an excellent excerpt from Andre Perry’s book “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities.” It’s worth every word to understand how it’s going to take more than buying the block to change the trajectory of black wealth creation in this country. In my view, unless more black folks are in position to reshape how we determine what is valuable and what’s not, we’re only pushing incremental measures that won’t really work.

Loon signs deal to expand commercial internet service to Mozambique – While this is a welcome move, I hope local players push to figure out ways to build out their own internet networks.

China Seen Joining Debt Relief Effort for Poorest Nations – Right now, no one really knows how much countries owe China. If the country follows through on joining other lenders in pausing payments, there could be a good bit more clarity on the scale at which China has lent around the world. Getting clarity on those numbers and term could be scary.

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