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Showing posts from 2015

Why the #FED doesn’t care about Black unemployment

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Why the #FED doesn’t care about Black unemployment (Listen at 49:42)

http://weaa.org/post/ellisonreport-1222-interestrates-are-bad-black-people-gop-primary-colors

Obama Turns to Crowdfunding to Aid Fleeing Syrians: NYT

As the New York Times reported,
"Syrian refugees continue to flee the violence at home, President Obama is turning to the modern tools of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship as a supplement to the more traditional means of humanitarian relief.
At the request of officials from the White House Office of Digital Strategy, the crowdfunding website Kickstarter has begun its first social service campaign aimed at raising money for the United Nations refugee agency on behalf of Syrian refugees."


Here is my talk 10/7 on NPR's Press Play with Madeleine Brand: "Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles, weekdays at noon."
http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/press-play-with-madeleine-brand
How effective is this? They raised $700,000 in six hours. Six hours. For more, visit the links below. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/world/middleeast/obama-turns-to-crowdfunding-to-aid-fleeing-syrians.html?_r=0
http://qz.com/519438/kicks…

What Tom Brady and Volkswagen have in common

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We note that last week automaker Volkswagen admitted that “’defeat devices’ used to cheat emissions testing were installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide.” The admission resulted in the swift “resignation and prompt replacement of CEO Martin Winterkorn, and a 30-percent drop in the company’s stock..” Volkswagen will be removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) as of October 6 (showing, once again, just how unreliable these index measures are).   Some time ago (2011), we quantified the impact environmental factors have on stock prices using several statistical techniques. Our analysis showed that investors and publicly traded companies must recognize the impact environmental incidents and issues have on a given firm's ability to use company assets and therefore generate revenue and profits. As we stated on February 5, 2015 in testimony to the Norwegian Ministry of Finance and on April 22, 2015 in testimony to the Government of the United Kingdom:  “the market value…

#BlackLivesDoNotMatterToTheDCGovernment

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As noted in Testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia on Thursday, March 12, 2015: “Our 2016 Fully Adjusted Return® forecast for the City suggests a crisis may be coming soon in the August/October (2015) timeframe." 

(The testimony can be found at:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx3S91AlzNJ4RGF0WTZQd05Ha3M/view?usp=sharing and https://youtu.be/rlr_DomOais below:)


One newspaper recently reported a "growing fear that the District is less safe. This fear resides with the City’s gentrifiers, not its natives, since Black male DC natives have been subject to elevated
murder risk for decades. The truth is that as long as Blacks are the victims, Washington, DC's murder rate has never been a concern for the DC City Council or their masters, the Congress of the United States, our Constitutionally anointed overseers.

Failing to recognize that synthetic drugs, domestic violence, and illegal guns are all factors in the increase in homicides anchors this lack of actual co…

Black People and Venture Capital

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I recently gave a talk at the 2015 National Black MBA Association Washington DC Chapter (NBMBAA-DC) Entrepreneurship Expo. My talk, titled “Black People and Venture Capital” available below. I started with a discussion of the key financial institution in the country, the Federal Reserve, which controls the allocation of capital via monetary policy, the tools used to control the supply of money. The Fed is located at 20th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. and I encouraged DC entrepreneurs to visit the institution, since the Fed directly impacts the ability of small businesses to get capital. I also encouraged Black businesses in DC to use the recently established Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion as a powerful potential source of capital and contracts. Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act contains a provision creating an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) responsible for monitoring diversity efforts at the agencies, regulated …

Financial Conflicts of Interest

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We define a financial conflict of interest as a situation in which a person, institution or organization has more than one financial  interest in a particular investment vehicle or asset. The problem occurs when parties whose interests are singular, and thus not compromised, depend upon a conflicted individual or institution for primary advice concerning the purchase, sale or retention of the conflicted financial asset. The conflict "corrupts the motivation of the individual or organization" providing advice.  According to the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, "conflicted retirement investment advice costs investors $17 billion each year," The US Department of Labor recently held a hearing on conflicts of interest in the provision of retirement investment advice. The goal of the hearing was to gather testimony on the Employee Benefits Security Administration's (EBSA) proposal to reduce conflicts of interest in the retirement advice marketplace. A…

Declining Black/White unemployment differential

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Our Fully Adjusted Return (tm) model predicted Black Unemployment would fall from 9.5% in June to 9.1% in July. 
The forecast was confirmed this morning by the US Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
The difference between Black and White unemployment now stands at 4.5%. We note this is the second lowest differential of the Obama Presidency, surpassed only by a 4.0% differential in February, 2008. Our Fully Adjusted Return model shows that the difference is poised, assuming the Fed does not raise rates, to fall further. See: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm

Your Freedom will not be brought to you by Comcast, Sprite or Google...

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We are delighted that an idea and initiative we suggested has begun to get traction, as evidenced by an effort launched in July called “Venture DC 2015”. Sponsored by Comcast and supported by DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), the well funded Venture DC initiative claims to seek to “empower emerging entrepreneurs who are addressing and solving some of DC's most pressing challenges related to health care, education, housing, economic security and access to financial services, specifically in Wards 7 and 8.”
Perhaps a little background is in order. On January 19, 2015, Martin Luther King's Birthday, we convened several DC-based Black Tech firms, policy analysts and others at a meeting in Washington, DC to discuss social innovation and technology. For more, see: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/martin-marion-tech-william-michael-cunningham-am-mba
“We focused on the role technology might play in addressing Black Male safety and security issues. The meet…

Obama's Climate Plan

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The Obama Administration released an ambitious, forward looking climate plan today. This is a big deal: the Administration's Clean Power Plan seeks to "reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030."

Several have characterized the Plan as "the strongest action ever on climate change by a US president." We agree and note that "hundreds of businesses including eBay, Nestle and General Mills have issued their support for..(the) plan.."

The picture above shows Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy speaking in early July at Georgetown University in Washington, DC with a Community Environmental Activist. (The Administration is reaching out...broadly.)

According to the White House, the Plan will:
"..reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent in 2030 compared to 2005 and decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in ki…

Fully Adjusted Return Forecast Early Yet Again...

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On April 2, 2015, we issued an unemployment rate forecast that stated, in part:

"Our Fully Adjusted Return® Model, combining social and financial data, predicts a 5.4% rate for March. Unemployment has been trending down since the beginning of 2009. The long term trend is declining, as the chart below shows. We see no reason for this to change. The only risk is that we may be a little early."

As one outlet noted, "US employers added jobs at a solid pace in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, a seven-year low." Today's rate release confirms our 4/2/15 forecast.

The chart above shows the overall Unemployment Rate (Blue), the rate for African Americans (Brown) and the difference between the two. (Gray line, scale at right.) We think the level and the volatility of this difference is a key indicator of the overall social and economic health of the country.



GDP

On May 28th, we issued a Fully Adjusted Return® forecast for GDP that, similarly, was a li…

Talking to 7th Graders in DC at Career Day...

I recently spoke at a Career Day event held at a local junior high school. I talked about what it takes to write (a lot of reading.....a lot).

I also encouraged the students to write. Unfortunately, the school does not have a newspaper or other outlet, so opportunities for learning through doing are limited.

(Online at: https://youtu.be/8piUOjuH98w)

US GDP Forecast

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The Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce will release the second estimate of First Quarter 2015 US GDP on Friday at 8:30 am. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the the broadest measure of economic activity. Most forecasters are predicting GDP will decline by 1.0% from the earlier quarter (4th Quarter, 2014.)

Our 2015 Fully Adjusted Return® forecast for GDP suggests there will be no change, in other words, we will have a first quarter 2015 GDP estimate that reflects virtually no change, or negative 0.5%." 

The US economy is strong and getting stronger. The only thing that can damage it are policy mistakes (like raising interest rates too soon) by officials at the Federal Reserve, and this is reason to be concerned. 

Fed economic policymakers, especially the group at left:MODERATOR: BETTY LIU ANCHOR, “IN THE LOOP WITH BETTY LIU,” BLOOMBERG TELEVISION, ALAN GREENSPAN PRESIDENT, GREENSPAN ASSOCIATES; FORMER CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, RICHARD W. FISHER FORMER…

What Poor People Want

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I was at the IMF yesterday with a bunch of rich white people (@Lagarde@HelenClarkUNDP) when the subject of poor people came up.

Of course, as they do with Black people, rich white people claim to know everything there is to know about the poor. I think their main fear is that poor people will want the same deal that Goldman Sachs got, or the deal JP Morgan got, or the deal the "London Whale" or the LIBOR manipulators got. This fear is borne of a certain selfishness and greed.

It is, also, completely wrong, so I took the time to tell them what I think.

Here is what we want:

1. Water. Not privatized water systems. Access to clean water.
2. Food. Not GMO degraded, just clean food.
3. Shelter. Not subprime loans, but shelter.
4. Peace. Not the opportunity to be shot in the back by a racist cop, or a racist Israeli soldier or a Muslim extremist.

If you think about it, these are the same things that rich white people want.

Effective Investing: How to minimize fees and maximize potential return

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We coined the term "Effective Investing" to reflect a style of investing that does several things. First, it minimizes fees and costs. Your money should go toward your future, not to a broker or mutual fund company. There are only two ways to accomplish this, one in stock investing and the other in bond investing. Your money should be safe and effective investing means being able to sleep at night.










This means managing and minimizingrisk. There are a limited number of ways to accomplish this, too. Risk is a feature of investing. It is how you get to return. Still, you can rationally minimize risk by taking a few constructive steps.  In the bond or fixed income world, investing in US Government securities is the only way to accomplish this.  In the stock market, the strategy is the polar opposite and can be summarized as "don't put all of your eggs in one basket," in fact, put them in the biggest basket you can find. This means investing in an Index Fund compris…

Stock, Bond and Mutual Fund Investing Class on Udemy

We quickly and completely cover the basics of investing in only about 40 minutes. If you want honest, objective information about investing, this is your course. It's also geared to people who want to start investing now! We define what stocks, bonds and mutual funds are. In addition, we cover risk and return, two key investing concepts. We cover ethical/social/environmental investing, providing expert-level instruction on these topics. We show returns generated by various types of investments from 1801 to 2011. We show you how to use various techniques to invest in stocks and bonds at low or no cost. Finally, we describe some of the best mutual funds in the marketplace. Our lecture provides the rationale for both investing and for social investing. https://www.udemy.com/stock-bond-mutualfund-investing

Norwegian Government investments in coal and petroleum companies

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Recently, "the Norwegian Ministry of Finance circulated (a) report from the Expert Group on the Government Pension Fund Global investments in coal and petroleum companies for a public hearing amongst Norwegian stakeholders. The Expert Group has evaluated whether the exclusion of coal and petroleum companies is a more effective strategy for addressing climate issues than the exercise of ownership and exertion of influence."  While not a citizen of Norway, in my comments, I respectfully reminded the Ministry that "All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." 

Our research strongly suggests that investors and publicly traded companies must recognize the impact environmental incidents and issues have on a given firm's ability to use company assets and therefore generate revenue and profits.

See: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx3S91AlzNJ4TlJ1VHIwRkZaODVrM0F…

Gentrification and Black People in DC

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Our economic research reveals the following:  there is not a single city in the United States of America where the majority of Black people resident before gentrification have been better off post-gentrification. Not one.
In every single case, Black income and wealth are lower, significantly so.

I mention this because of a comment I made to DC Mayor Bowser at a Forum on Development in Anacostia, Washington, DC.

Here is my original comment before the DC City Council:  https://youtu.be/rlr_DomOais

The Mayor appears to believe that this is simply not an issue.

My comment and the Mayor's response can be heard at minute 42:00 here: http://thekojonnamdishow.org/audio/#/shows/2015-04-02/d-c-mayor-muriel-bowser-a-forum-in-anacostia/87938/@0:00

Our Fully Adjusted Return (TM) Model Predicts Unemployment will be 5.4%

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The U.S.Employment Situation report will be released on Friday at 8:30 am. According to the Department of Labor, "Based on the Household Survey, the unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force." Our Fully Adjusted Return (TM) Model, combining social and financial data, predicts a 5.4% rate for March.

Unemployment has been trending down since the beginning of 2009. The long term trend is declining, as the chart below shows. We see no reason for this to change. The only risk is that we may be a little early.

On November 2, 2012, we noted that "As is often the case, the Fully Adjusted Return (TM) methodology is early. (On December 22, 2003 and February 6, 2006, we warned the S.E.C. and other regulators that statistical models created by the firm using the Fully Adjusted Return (TM) Methodology signaled the probability of system-wide economic and market failure)."

DC's Revealed Black Economic Development "Plan"

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DC's Revealed Black Economic Development "Plan" https://youtu.be/rlr_DomOais


DC has the highest rate of HIV infection, the highest Black/White income disparity and the most rapid gentrification in the United States. These facts are not unrelated. Together, they point to the true economic development policy, at least for Black people, in the city. My analysis and experience, described in detail below, supports this contention. Since 2005, we have been managing an effort to bring crowdfunding to small businesses in DC. My firm was selected to develop a crowdfunding program for the District's Great Streets Program. The effort we undertook was initially funded at $85,000, was reduced to $25,000 and further reduced to $20,000. DC has actually paid a fraction of this amount. Despite this, we moved ahead. At DC's Historic Metropolitan AME Church, we worked with four innovators to launchcrowdfunding projects in support of their DC-based businesses. We helped increase po…