Fed Should “Freeze Interest Rates, Involve Citizens” Says Neighborhoods Organizing For Change

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Not everybody is benefiting equally from the economic recovery. A new report shows in Minnesota blacks are suffering disproportionally to whites when it comes to employment.

Anthony Newby, Executive Director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), delivered a report of about the current economic state of people of color in Minnesota and specifically the current and possible role of the Federal Reserve Bank. The new report from the Center for Popular Democracy says since 2000, wages in Minnesota have declined by 4.5%, current unemployment rate for blacks is 10.9% vs a white rate of 2.8%.

This is the link to the full report “Wall Street, Main Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard:
Why African Americans Must Not Be Left Out of the Federal Reserve’s Full-Employment Mandate”

Newby argues that the Fed in addition to controlling interest rates, can control the rate of unemployment. He and Rev. Paul Slack, ISIAH President, ask that interest rates be kept at the current levels and that the Fed work to reduce unemployment.

Why there is a Federal Reserve

The nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics. There had been strong resistance to a central bank since the founding of the nation. The Fed was given the power to print money, establish bank interest rates and a number of sweeping powers. It is an independent entity within government, ownership of each of the 12 banks is claimed be the member banks, but the actual fiscal ownership is obscure. The ability to print money and loan it to the government is at the heart of its power and for many, a controversial power. President Kennedy challenged the authority of the Fed with Executive Order 11110, June 4, 1963 and he attempted to eliminate our current paper money, the Federal Reserve Note replacing it with US Notes. He did not succeed.

Newby further requested more transparency in the actions of the Fed and asked for more ordinary citizen participation. The current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Narayana Kocherlakota, has indicated a willingness to keep interest rates low and to move towards more citizen participation in the actions of the Fed. However, he retires in a year. Newby would like citizens to have input on his successor.

Rev. Slack asked for justice and compassion in the Fed policies, in part to undo past unfair actions.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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