Category Archives: Finance

Chart of the day: One tax remains constant

Gues which one?

From the U.S. Census Bureau [PDF]:

Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue for

Headline of the day II: Cash and carry Clinton

From the Washington Post:

Clinton blasts Wall Street, but still draws millions in contributions

Even as Hillary Clinton has stepped up her rhetorical assault on Wall Street, her campaign and allied super PACs have continued to rake in millions from the financial sector, a sign of her deep and lasting relationships with banking and investment titans.

And the Post’s Ann Telnaes offered her own contribution on Clintonian hypocrisy, keying off a statement the candidate made at last night’s New Hampshire Democratic Town Hall:

BLOG Clinton

Chart of the day III: Chinese market collapses

From the New York Times, evidence that the Collapse of 2016 is already underway, with massive amounts of notional wealth already destroyed [click on the image to enlarge]:

BLOG China

Charts of the day II: Student debt, Black burden

Student debt is yet another burden that falls disproportionately on America’s African American families, as evidenced in these charts from Less Debt, More Equity: Lowering Student Debt While Closing the Black-White Wealth Gap [PDF], a joint report from Demos and The Institute on Assets and Social Policy:


Borrowing while black: Banksters in action

Just having a name that sounds like the applicant is African American will cost the would-be borrower a 71 percent reduction on the lender’s credit score, according to a new study.

From teleSUR English:

Mortgage lenders across the United States discriminate against African-Americans clients, according to a new study.

In an industry where credit scores are meant to determine eligibility, race was half as much a determining factor of the lender’s response to a loan request.

The study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Urban Economics, emailed over 5,000 Mortgage Loan Originators—the first point of contact that can offer and negotiate loans—with white-sounding and Black-sounding names.

Differences in the initial responses were significant enough to note consistent discrepancies: in the rate, length, content, tone and timing of the responses. The African American-sounding clients were repeatedly treated more poorly. On the whole, the treatment amounted to about 71 percent lower credit score.

More from the Marquette University College of Business Administration:

A Marquette University study forthcoming in the Journal of Urban Economics has found that African-Americans seeking home loans are discriminated against by mortgage lenders at the earliest stages of the application process.

According to Dr. Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics and the study’s lead author, black Americans are far more likely than white Americans to be ignored by mortgage loan originators.

Hanson pointed out that allegations of discriminatory lending practices during the 2004-08 housing boom resulted in the two largest cash settlements ever between mortgage lenders and the Department of Justice — $335 million from Bank of America’s Countrywide group and $175 million from Wells Fargo. The complaints alleged that these institutions steered equally qualified minority applicants into higher interest (sub-prime) loans and charged higher fees than for white borrowers.

“While some observers may chalk the root cause of discrimination during the boom to an unusual housing and lending market, that may not necessarily be the case, as our research points out,” Hanson said.

In the three-year study, Hanson and his collaborators tested for racial discrimination by mortgage lenders using what’s known as a correspondence experiment approach. The team sent identical email inquiries to lenders, with one primary difference — the name of the potential borrower.

“We used names that are highly likely to be associated with either African-Americans or white Americans to see if their inquiries were treated differently by lenders,” Hanson said.

After analyzing the data from more than 10,000 emails, Hanson found net discrimination by 1.8 percent of lenders through non-response. The study also showed that lenders offer more details about loans and are more likely to send follow-up correspondence to whites.

“Looking just at the response rates of mortgage loan originators, the effect of being African-American is equivalent to the effect of having a credit score that is 71 points lower,” Hanson noted.

Chart of the day II: The billion dollar election

From the Center for Public Integrity, a look at the huge numbers of dollars pouring into the 2016 Presidential election as of the end of the year, with the greatest share of those corporate and bankster super PAC dollars going to the GOP. Click on the image to enlarge, and go to the link for an interactive version:

2015 fundraising by candidates versus super PACs

2015 fundraising by candidates versus super PACs

DiFi’s hubby’s billion dollar postal profits

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the politically correct neoliberal, saying all that PC stuff, while ensuring that her plutocratic spouse’s real estate company racks up a neat billion in profits from selling off an integral part of the American commons.

In this video, The Real News Network’s Jessica Desvarieux interviews Jacquelyne McCormick, executive director for the National Post Office Collaborative, about the relentless push for privatization and efforts to block the moves.

From The Real News Network:

Will Senate Bill to “Save” Post Office Be Enough?

From the transcript:

DESVARIEUX: Many of these recommendations have not been included in the Senate’s bipartisan bill, called the Improving Postal Operations Service and Transparency Act, otherwise known as IPOST. The USPS doesn’t spend taxpayer money, and would run at a profit but for the Postal Accountability and Enforcement Act of 2006.

Under the bill, the post office is required to fund pensions for current retirees, workers, and future employees decades in the future. It’s a provision executive director for the National Post Office Collaborative Jacquelyne McCormick says no other business has to be subjected to.

JACQUELYNE MCCORMICK: And what they did is they projected what the cost of the health care benefits would be, you know, 75 years in advance, and accelerated that payment into a ten-year period of time. That’s ridiculous. You’re paying benefits for people you haven’t even hired yet, and you’re paying them, for them within the next ten years. And that doesn’t even make sense.

DESVARIEUX: In the IPOST bill, the post office must still pre-pay for benefits, but for 80 percent of those benefits over 40 years. Something McCormick says still does not go far enough to get the post office out of the red. Other main features of the bill include one, a five-year ban on closing post offices, and a two-year ban on closing mail processing facilities. Two, it includes a move away from home delivery to cluster boxes, something that got much protest from Canadian citizens when it was initially proposed in 2013. And now Canada’s post office is suspending all conversions to cluster boxes.

Number three, it requires the postal service to use a national broker contract that encourages competition through the use of multiple national real estate companies for the negotiation of leases that the postal service does not negotiate itself. This was a direct response to a scandal that rocked the office of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. The post office inspector general found that CBRE, a giant real estate company partially owned by Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, was costing the U.S. Postal Service millions of dollars a year in lease overpayments. The contracts were exclusive, and the inspector general recommended that they be terminated. Feinstein’s husband’s company is still under contract with USPS, and is said to pocket more than $1 billion in commissions after the sale of 56 buildings.