Showing posts with label COVID. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COVID. Show all posts

Monday, December 7, 2020

COVID Reveals What’s Actually Important


The COVID crisis reveals what’s actually important: family, food and community. It also shows what’s not important: material items and money worship. Globalization, too, a specific form of money worship, proved unable to support the domestic production of basic but critical supplies, like masks, in a time of crisis.

Another thing revealed by this crisis is the true cost of racism. It shows how racism supports mediocrity. 

The crisis reveals the moral and spiritual bankruptcy embedded in some of the “religious” claims by white racists in the US. These appear to be materialistic and greed-based misinterpretations. This is a self-centered version of “faith” that somehow justifies not wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic. In addition to being irrational, any logical interpretation of this behavior reveals the selfishness driving this behavior. The common thread is veneration of white privilege, including the right to impose a deadly pandemic on Black people, simply because some white people choose to do so. No appeal to free markets, personal liberty, or state’s rights can justify the damage done to the entire community by these irrational, anti-science based behaviors. These mirror, directly, violent racial extremism.

This hatred of Black people specifically, the descendants of people who played a critical role in building the country, has always been irrational. Blacks bore the brunt of the damage racism has caused, but always knew this social damage was going to grow. Targeting blacks is a reflection of white fear and mediocrity, nowhere better seen than in the performance of the current (December, 2020) president. The other thing this crisis reveals is the central role that lying plays in white supremacy: in 1,316 days, the current president told 22,247 lies. 

Black people don’t oppose white supremacy just because it damages Black people. Historically, Blacks have tried to make the case that anti-Black racism imposes significant costs on the entire society. Those who promoted this line of reasoning have either been assassinated, like MLK or assimilated, like Obama. Under either outcome, the result is the continuation of white supremacy, to the now clear detriment of society. 

Both humanity and the planet continue to suffer.


Friday, June 5, 2020

The Current Crisis


Five months ago, our nation was made host to a virulent, deadly visitor, brought to this continent surreptitiously. A new virus, uncovered in China, unsparing in occurrence.

Now we are engaged in a great experiment, testing whether any nation with fearsome, monstrous divisions based on race and wealth, can survive in the face of such a disease. We have come to give our testimony while we still can, in an increasingly authoritarian environment. We do so to support the survival of all who participate in this society. We are writing not as people of wealth and privilege but as ordinary people, like the medical and public safety workers who gave their lives that this nation might live. As citizens of the world, we have an obligation to speak out. As citizens of the US, we have the right to do so.

We offer an independent viewpoint, having gained insight from American history – in this case, Black Wall Street/Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our perspective helps us better understand the exact nature of the problem the country now faces. Of course, in a larger sense, we know that monetary impacts pale in the face of human pain and suffering. This mandates a focus on the human, not the economic.

The world will not notice, nor remember, what is written by common people of limited means, without the ability to correct the current condition. Our goal is to simply suggest that this situation should not be used to argue for the inherent inferiority of those most impacted. We are dying at elevated rates not due to some ingrained defect. Rather, the defect resides in a racist, bigoted and biased system for the allocation of resources, including police and health care resources. This crisis offers an opportunity to correct this misallocation.

As an organization, Creative Investment Research has long been dedicated to this unfinished work. We call upon you, the reader, to insure that these deaths ultimately have meaning —and that democratic government, tasked with providing fairness and equity, will not cease to exist.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Webinar: Can Black People Survive Post COVID?


Come advocate for change!

SPECIAL GUESTS:
  • CONGRESSMAN HANK JOHNSON (D-GA)
  • DR. CHARLES STEELE, JR., PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
  • WILLIAM MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, FOUNDER - CREATIVE INVESTMENT RESEARCH
Wednesday May 13, 2020 6:00 pm ET. Zoom Webinar. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Open letter to the Congressional Black Caucus (with apologies to Mr. Lincoln.)

Four months ago, our nation was made host to a virulent, deadly visitor, brought to this continent surreptitiously. A new virus, uncovered in China, unsparing in occurrence.

Now we are engaged in a great experiment, testing whether any nation with significant divisions based on politics, race and wealth, can survive in the face of such a disease. We have come to give our testimony while we still can, to help insure the survival of all who participate in this society. We are writing not as millionaires but as common people, like the medical and public safety workers who gave their lives that this nation might live. As citizens of the world, we have an obligation to speak out. As citizens of the US, we have the right to do so.

We offer an independent view on the economic impacts, having gained relevant insight from American history – in this case, from Black Wall Street/Tulsa, Oklahoma, to better understand the exact nature of the economic problem the country now faces. Of course, in a larger sense, we know that economic impacts pale in the face of human pain and suffering. This mandates a focus on the human, not the economic.

The world will not notice, or remember, what is said by imperfect people with imperfect means to correct the current condition. Our goal is to make sure that this situation is not used to argue for the inherent inferiority of those most impacted by this virus. We are dying at elevated rates not due to some ingrained defect. Rather, the defect resides in a racist, bigoted and biased system for the allocation of resources, including health care resources. This crisis offers an opportunity to correct this misallocation.

As an organization, we have long been dedicated to this unfinished work. We call upon you, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus to insure that all deaths from this virus will ultimately have meaning —and that democratic government, tasked with providing relief from an affliction that knows no race, status or geography, necessitating fairness and equity, will not cease to exist.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Nationalize the Banks



According to the Financial Times, megabank Wells Fargo & Co “has asked the U.S. Federal Reserve to remove an asset cap introduced during its accounts scandal in order to allow it to support businesses and customers hit by the coronavirus economic fallout..”

The growth cap was imposed after the bank “acknowledged that it improperly foreclosed on 545 distressed homeowners after they asked for help with their mortgages, created 3.5 million fake accounts, charged 570,000 customers for auto insurance they did not need, and illegally repossessed vehicles from hundreds of service members.” Former bank employees state that Wells "targeted black churches” and neighborhoods by offering escalating-interest mortgages, which some loan officers called “ghetto loans.”

This week, the bank demanded that call center workers come to the office despite coronavirus, but agreed to pay "all of its domestic full-time employees who make less than $100,000 a year.. a pre-tax payment of $600 and part-time employees.. a $300 bonus."

Wells suggested the Fed remove the $1.95 trillion asset cap, “which has curbed its growth and profitability since it was imposed in 2018..” In 2019, Wells Fargo reported net income of $19.5 billion.

This request must be viewed in the context of the current COVID crisis and banking industry profits. JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, reported record profits of $36.4 billion in 2019, the highest annual earnings any U.S. bank has ever reported. Citigroup announced its best results since the 2008 financial crisis, reporting $19.4 billion in profits for 2019.

Wells Fargo’s request exposes the greed and lack of public concern that is the cause of the bad banking behavior we have seen in recent years. These are simply greedy, unpatriotic institutions whose behavior now, in the midst of this crisis, borders on the psychopathic. (A Former Wells Fargo CEO wants people to go back to work and 'see what happens.' He said 'Some may even die, I don't know.' This lack of empathy is the textbook definition of a psychopath.)

The country is in the beginning stage of the most serious social and economic crisis it has ever faced. To ensure the country does not fall into depression, the federal government will need to make deposits directly into roughly 300 million banking accounts. It will have to send direct payments via new fintech platforms, like Venmo and PayPal, to reach the broadest number of citizens. Credit unions and check cashing firms will also have to be included, quickly, while avoiding double counting, and making sure that only eligible US citizens receive money.

Mortgage and loan terms will also have to be revised. We know financial institutions can do this, since it’s what they did in the years leading up to the financial crisis, when loan terms were revised in favor of the banks, in many cases without letting borrowers know. (In 2001, we helped create one of the first wide scale home mortgage loan modification projects in the United States. The project helped families victimized by predatory lending practices. See: https://www.creativeinvest.com/PropertyFlipping.pdf ) Now, the task is to reset loan terms in favor of borrowers. It is uncertain that banks can do this in a fair, unbiased manner. This is why nationalization is needed.

While privately-owned banks place “short-term profits for their shareholders as their highest priority” they are required to “maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system.” Megabanks must be part of the solution, but, if a bank is primarily worried about profitability before the public interest in THIS environment, they will only make things worse.

The solution is to have the government, via the Fed, in the public interest, take over the banks.