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Janet Yellen: The Lingering ‘Legacy’ Of A Decades-Old Monetary Policy Freak Show

Janet Yellen: The Lingering ‘Legacy’ Of A Decades-Old Monetary Policy Freak Show

Submitted By QTR’s Fringe Finance

I want to start off this…

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Janet Yellen: The Lingering 'Legacy' Of A Decades-Old Monetary Policy Freak Show

Submitted By QTR's Fringe Finance

I want to start off this piece by linking to Rudy Havenstein’s latest about Janet Yellen, called “Janet Yellen Is A Menace To Society”. The piece does a great job of laying out exactly how wrong Yellen has been, and continues to be, about…well, everything.

Yellen has exemplified the worst of monetary policy over the last decade: first as Federal Reserve chair, keeping rates far too low for far too long while admittedly not understanding inflation, and now as Treasury Secretary, encouraging additional spending and continuing to display a stunning lack of economic basics when talking about the nation’s current inflation (and soon to be recessionary) problem.

She has been in the news over the last couple weeks after being publicly labeled with the ultimate Keynesian insult of someone who didn’t urge more spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After it was reported that Yellen may have suggested the Biden administration spend less in 2021, Yellen came out last week and promptly defended her Keynesian honor by correcting the record.

She also made headlines this week for defending the country’s Covid relief spending - you know, the very same spending that is crippling the American consumer with inflation at the moment.

Because after all, no good Keynesian economist would want to be caught at any point saying that they want to stop any type of spending on anything.

In addition to this, over the last week, we’ve seen a mea culpa from Yellen that most of us predicted would be coming several years ago.

Yellen’s incompetence as Fed chair years ago was highlighted by her complete lack of understanding of inflation, which she referred to as “a mystery”. Today, Yellen is doing what all politicians do after they fly the plane at 1,000 miles an hour into the side of the mountain - apologizing halfheartedly without offering up any real signs that she’s learned anything from the situation:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has now followed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in finally admitting that she was wrong last year in thinking that inflation would be a transitory phenomenon rather than becoming the country’s number one economic problem. That is to be welcomed especially considering how difficult it is for economists to admit that they were wrong.

However, like Mr. Powell with the Federal Reserve, she has been very careful to avoid admitting that the policies of her Treasury Department had anything to do with inflation’s acceleration to a multi-decade high of some 8 ½ percent.

Most of us knew during Yellen’s tenure as Fed Chair that she didn’t really have a grasp on inflation. Now, we are bearing the consequences of her ignorance and policy mistakes.

In fact, it’s almost difficult to think about anybody less qualified to be a Fed chair than somebody that doesn’t understand inflation. When the Fed’s dual mandate includes price stability, you would think that a firm understanding of inflation would be one of the only prerequisites to become Fed chair.

And yet she did so well, they brought her back - Hillary style - for another seat at the country’s economic table by making her fucking Treasury Secretary.


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But I digress.

In Janet Yellen’s wake as chair, we now have Jerome Powell heading up a consortium of “useful idiots” who attempted to lie to the American people by telling them that inflation was transitory over the last year. Powell himself also lied, prior to the pandemic, when telling Congress that the Fed’s intervention into markets to add liquidity and ease rates was not quantitative easing.

Powell is also doing his own mea culpa right now on inflation, begging a fairly simple and obvious question: how do these people keep winding up in positions of monetary policy power? I mean…is it me, or could these Fed chairs not find sand if they fell off a camel?

While financial media has been busy kissing the asses of these “experts” while also laughing at any guest or contributor with even the slightest inkling of Austrian economics running through them over the last 20 years, we have been slowly and systematically reducing our monetary system to the ticking time bomb it has become today.

At some point, the laughing is going to stop in a big way and people are going to realize that we are far beyond the point of no return. By then, it’ll be too late, as I noted in 2018:

As I noted then, with news networks, it’s either the worst cognitive dissonance I’ve ever seen or it is a sickening display of ignorance involving how the system works. Either way, financial news should be taken with several grains of salt and those who ridiculed economists like Peter Schiff who actually predicted the housing collapse should be called out publicly this time around. But, like those who were complicit in helping the whole system go off the rails in 2008, they won't be held accountable and rather will be making up excuses for the powers that be, once again, this time around.

Sure, there is an argument that the Fed shouldn’t come out and cause panic by saying that we are heading towards a recession, but on the other hand, what is the point of always offering positive outlook for the economy regardless of what economic data and economic conditions are dictating?

The Fed is at it again, with Yellen stating last week that she “did not anticipate a recession”.

“There’s nothing to suggest a recession is in the works,” Yellen said, while GDP estimates collapse and inflation runs rampant.

And what is the point of even lying when GDP indictors can tell us definitively whether or not we are heading into recession (surprise, we are), regardless of what bullshit narrative Fed officials wrap the numbers in. From CNBC:

A widely followed Federal Reserve gauge is indicating that the U.S. economy could be headed for a second consecutive quarter of negative growth, meeting a rule-of-thumb definition for a recession.

In an update posted Tuesday, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker is now pointing to an annualized gain of just 0.9% for the second quarter. Following a 1.5% drop in the first three months of the year, the indicator is showing the economy doesn’t have much further to go before it slides into what many consider a recession.

GDPNow follows economic data in real time and uses it to project the way the economy is heading. Tuesday’s data, combined with other recent releases, resulted in the model downgrading what had been an estimate of 1.3% growth as of June 1 to the new outlook for a 0.9% gain.

And a report out of the Atlanta Fed this week “shows the economy on course for zero percent growth in the second quarter of 2022”.

And now feels like a great time to remind you that Janet Yellen, during her tenure as Fed chair in 2017, said that she didn’t see another financial crisis “in our lifetimes”.

Questions should be asked not only as to why Yellen was put in such a position of power to begin with despite her basic shortcomings when it comes to understanding economics, but why we continue to perpetuate the Keynesian myths that dictate our policy prescriptions - that she pushes - to this day?

Bernanke got the subprime crisis dead wrong in 2008, Yellen got inflation dead wrong during her tenure and our current Fed - all while possibly insider trading stocks based on decisions they would be making post-Covid-crash - is stuck between a rate hike rock and an inflationary hard place with nowhere to go.

 

United States Inflation Rate - May 2022 Data - 1914-2021 Historical - June  Forecast

CPI / Trading Economics

When is the country going to see that Yellen, Bernanke and Powell are symptoms of a much larger problem: a grandiose misunderstanding of economics and monetary policy born out of our own arrogance, ignorance and belief that we can micromanage the most basic laws of economics?

Thank you for reading QTR’s Fringe Finance . This post is public so feel free to share it: Share

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/18/2022 - 10:30

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Sex work is real work: Global COVID-19 recovery needs to include sex workers

Societally, we need to recognize that sex workers have agency and deserve the same respect, dignity and aid as any other person selling their labour.

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Globally, sex workers have been left to fend for themselves during the pandemic with little to no support from the government. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

During the pandemic, business shifted from in person to work-from-home, which quickly became the new normal. However, it left many workers high and dry, especially those with less “socially acceptable” occupations.

The pandemic has adversely impacted sex workers globally and substantially increased the precariousness of their profession. And public health measures put in place made it almost impossible for sex workers to provide any in-person service.

Although many people depend on sex work for survival, its criminalization and policing stigmatizes sex workers.

Research shows that globally, sex workers have been left behind and in most cases excluded from government economic support initiatives and social policies. There needs to be an intersectional approach to global COVID-19 recovery that considers everyone’s lived realities. We propose policy recommendations that treat sex work as decent work and that centre around the lived experiences and rights of those in the profession.

Sex work and the pandemic

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently reported that apart from income-loss, the pandemic has increased pre-existing inequalities for sex workers.

In a survey conducted in Eastern and Southern Africa, the UNFPA found that during the pandemic, 49 per cent of sex workers experienced police violence (including sexual violence) while 36 per cent reported arbitrary arrests. The same survey reported that more than 50 per cent of respondents experienced food and housing crises.

Lockdowns and border closures adversely impacted Thailand’s tourism industry which relies partially on the labour of sex workers.


Read more: Sex workers are criminalized and left without government support during the coronavirus pandemic


In the Asia Pacific, sex workers reported having limited access to contraceptives and lubricants along with reduced access to harm reduction resources. Lockdowns also disrupted STI or HIV testing services, limiting sex workers’ access to necessary healthcare.

In North America, sex workers have been excluded from the government’s recovery response. And many began offering online services to sustain themselves.

A woman stands backlit next to a dimly lit bus that reads 'Thailand' with green lighting.
Sex workers stand in a largely shut-down red light area in Bangkok, Thailand on March 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Government vs. community response

Globally, sex workers have been left to fend for themselves during the pandemic with little to no support from the government. But communities themselves have been rallying.

Elene Lam, founder of Butterfly, an Asian migrant sex organization in Canada, talks about the resilience of sex wokers during the pandemic.

She says organizations like the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform are working in collaboration with Amnesty International to mobilize income support and resources to help sex workers in Canada.

Organizations in the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Spain have also set up emergency support funds. And some sex worker organizations have developed community-specific resources for providing services both in person and online during the pandemic.

Global recovery needs to include sex workers

The International Labour Organization’s “Decent Work Agenda” emphasizes productive employment and decent working conditions as being the driving force behind poverty reduction.

Sociologist Cecilia Benoit explains that sex work often becomes a “livelihood strategy” in the face of income and employment instability. She says that like other personal service workers, sex workers also should be able to practice without any interference or violence.

In order to have an inclusive COVID-19 recovery for all, governments need to work to extend social guarantees to sex workers — so far they haven’t.

As pandemic restrictions disappear, it is crucial to ensure that everyone involved in sex work is protected under the law and has access to accountability measures.

A woman stands wearing a mask with a safety vest on in front of a collage of scantily clad women and a sign that reads 'nude women non stop'
A volunteer helps out at Zanzibar strip club during a low-barrier vaccination clinic for sex workers in Toronto in June 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Recommendations

As feminist researchers, we propose that sex work be brought under the broader agenda of decent work so that the people offering services are protected.

  1. Governments need to have a legal mandate for preventing sexual exploitation.

  2. Law enforcement staff need to be trained in better responding to the needs of sex workers. To intervene in and address situations of abuse or violence is critical to ensure workplace safety and harm reduction.

  3. Awareness and educational campaigns need to focus on destigmatizing sex work.

  4. Policy-makers need to incorporate intersectionality as a working principle in identifying and responding to the different axes of oppression and marginalization impacting LGBTQ+ and racialized sex workers.

  5. Engagement with sex workers and human rights organizations need to happen when designing aid support to ensure that an inclusive pathway for recovery is created.

  6. Globally, there needs to be a steady commitment towards destigmatizing sex workers and their services.

Despite the gradual waning of pandemic restrictions, sex workers continue to face the dual insecurity of social discrimination and loss of income support. Many are still finding it difficult to stay afloat and sustain themselves.

Societally, we need to recognize that sex workers have agency and deserve the same respect, dignity and aid as any other person selling their labour.

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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OU researchers award two NSF pandemic prediction and prevention projects

Two groups of researchers at the University of Oklahoma have each received nearly $1 million grants from the National Science Foundation as part of its…

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Two groups of researchers at the University of Oklahoma have each received nearly $1 million grants from the National Science Foundation as part of its Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention initiative, which focuses on fundamental research and capabilities needed to tackle grand challenges in infectious disease pandemics through prediction and prevention.

Credit: Photo provided by the University of Oklahoma.

Two groups of researchers at the University of Oklahoma have each received nearly $1 million grants from the National Science Foundation as part of its Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention initiative, which focuses on fundamental research and capabilities needed to tackle grand challenges in infectious disease pandemics through prediction and prevention.

To date, researchers from 20 institutions nationwide were selected to receive an NSF PIPP Award. OU is the only university to receive two grants to the same institution.

“The next pandemic isn’t a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when,’” said OU Vice President for Research and Partnerships Tomás Díaz de la Rubia. “Research at the University of Oklahoma is going to help society be better prepared and responsive to future health challenges.”

Next-Generation Surveillance

David Ebert, Ph.D., professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering, is the principal investigator on one of the projects, which explores new ways of sharing, integrating and analyzing data using new and traditional data sources. Ebert is also the director of the Data Institute for Societal Challenges at OU, which applies OU expertise in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data-enabled research to solving societal challenges.

While emerging pathogens can circulate among wild or domestic animals before crossing over to humans, the delayed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for new early detection methods, more effective data management, and integration and information sharing between officials in both public and animal health.

Ebert’s team, composed of experts in data science, computer engineering, public health, veterinary sciences, microbiology and other areas, will look to examine data from multiple sources, such as veterinarians, agriculture, wastewater, health departments, and outpatient and inpatient clinics, to potentially build algorithms to detect the spread of signals from one source to another. The team will develop a comprehensive animal and public health surveillance, planning and response roadmap that can be tailored to the unique needs of communities.

“Integrating and developing new sources of data with existing data sources combined with new tools for detection, localization and response planning using a One Health approach could enable local and state public health partners to respond more quickly and effectively to reduce illness and death,” Ebert said. “This planning grant will develop proof-of-concept techniques and systems in partnership with local, state and regional public health officials and create a multistate partner network and design for a center to prevent the next pandemic.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes One Health as an approach that bridges the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment to achieve optimal health outcomes.

Co-principal investigators on the project include Michael Wimberly, Ph.D., professor in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences; Jason Vogel, Ph.D., director of the Oklahoma Water Survey and professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science; Thirumalai Venkatesan, director of the Center for Quantum Research and Technology in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences; and Aaron Wendelboe, Ph.D., professor in the Hudson College of Public Health at the OU Health Sciences Center.

Predicting and Preventing the Next Avian Influenza Pandemic

Several countries have experienced deadly outbreaks of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, that have resulted in the loss of billions of poultry, thousands of wild waterfowl and hundreds of humans. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma are taking a unique approach to predicting and preventing the next avian influenza pandemic.

Xiangming Xiao, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology and director of the Center for Earth Observation and Modeling in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences, is leading a project to assemble a multi-institutional team that will explore pathways for establishing an International Center for Avian Influenza Pandemic Prediction and Prevention.

The goal of the project is to incorporate and understand the status and major challenges of data, models and decision support tools for preventing pandemics. Researchers hope to identify future possible research and pathways that will help to strengthen and improve the capability and capacity to predict and prevent avian influenza pandemics.

“This grant is a milestone in our long-term effort for interdisciplinary and convergent research in the areas of One Health (human-animal-environment health) and big data science,” Xiao said. “This is an international project with geographical coverage from North America, Europe and Asia; thus, it will enable OU faculty and students to develop greater ability, capability, capacity and leaderships in prediction and prevention of global avian influenza pandemic.”

Other researchers on Xiao’s project include co-principal investigators A. Townsend Peterson, Ph.D., professor at the University of Kansas; Diann Prosser, Ph.D., research wildlife ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey; and Richard Webby, Ph.D., director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Wayne Marcus Getz, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is also assisting on the project.

The National Science Foundation grant for Ebert’s research is set to end Jan. 31, 2024, while Xiao’s grant will end Dec. 31, 2023.


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GSK and IQVIA launch platform of US vaccination data, showing drop in adult rates

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of vaccine uptake has been a point of contention, but a new platform from GSK and IQVIA is hoping to shed more…

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Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of vaccine uptake has been a point of contention, but a new platform from GSK and IQVIA is hoping to shed more light on vaccine data, via new transparency and general awareness.

The two companies have launched Vaccine Track, a platform intended to be used by public health officials, medical professionals and others to strengthen data transparency and display vaccination trends. According to the companies, the platform is intended to aid in increasing vaccine rates and will provide data on trends to assist public health efforts.

Judy Stewart

The platform will also allow users to identify vaccination trends for adults in the US across multiple vaccine types. Users will also be able to scan claims data nationally to track trends alongside pre-Covid metrics.

“For the first time, Vaccine Track brings quarterly data tracking and trends together in a comprehensive platform for immunization partners, decision-makers and stakeholders. Our goal for Vaccine Track is to support the return to pre-pandemic vaccination rates for adults and to go beyond by empowering the vaccine and public health community with frequently updated, actionable information to get ahead of disease together,” said Judy Stewart, GSK’s head of vaccines in a statement.

This move comes as vaccination rates in adults were already low even before the pandemic, with a CDC report stressing that vaccine coverage in adults was low across all age groups.

So far the platform’s data show a decline in adult immunizations, excluding flu vaccinations, across the country during the pandemic. The platform currently only has information from January 2019 to December 2021 on hand but will be updated every quarter.

The data itself observed that rates were especially low in minority populations, which were already showing lower rates of immunization pre-pandemic.

The platform also showed that national trends for adults aged 19 and older are still low, with an average decrease of 18% through last year in overall claims. Average monthly claims through 2021 for recommended vaccines were between 12% and 42% below 2019 rates, with nearly half of the states in the US facing greater than 30% reductions in overall claims for recommended vaccines from pre-pandemic levels.

In Medicare patients, the platform’s analysis found a more than 30% reduction in overall claims for recommended vaccines among Black and Hispanic populations between 2019 and 2021.

The information itself is sourced from medical claims data and longitudinal prescription data, the companies said.

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