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World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, 2017, Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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In April, 2000, 10,000 protesters gathered outside the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings to express passionate disapproval of globalization and to express concern about growing income inequality.

Chaos erupted and upwards of 1,000 people were arrested. Seventeen years later, at this year’s World Bank meetings, there are no protesters to be found in Foggy Bottom. The World Bank has attempted to incorporate some of the protesters’ concerns into their Spring Meeting event schedule: they have increasingly emphasized income inequality and other issues. This progress was displayed at the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Roundtable on April 18: CSOs posed their questions directly to World Bank executive directors.

The questions were direct, opening with “How can the bank do more to provide relief in wars and other crises?” Executive director Merza Hasan brought attention to the relief efforts of the past, but suggested there was room for improvement. The comments were in line with World Bank P…

Africa Policy Forum on Famine. Kenan Tukes, Howard University, Impact Investing Intern

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The Africa Policy Forum on Famine was held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium, sponsored by the office of Congressmember Karen Bass. This forum discussed the escalating risk of famine on the Horn and the Sahel regions of Africa, and the efforts, unrealized thus far, to stop not only the famine, but its root causes as well.


The Horn of Africa has, for years, experienced many threats. These include drought, famine, and ongoing conflicts - from struggles for power to genocide. In fragile states like South Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia, these threats have, in the present day, created a situation that threatens the lives of millions of refugees and the future of these states.

The Africa Policy Forum on Famine was a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Monde Muyangwa and featuring Gen. William “Kip” Ward (Ret.), John Prendergast, and Jon Brause. The discussion brought into question the roles various Western powers as well as the United States play in the fami…

“Global Economic Prospects-Spring 2017” seminar. Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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Economic forecasters have the unenviable position of consolidating the various policy proposals of the Trump administration and divergent global growth indicators into an all-encompassing and accurate prediction of global growth prospects.

David Stockton, Karen Dynan and Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute took on this task and elaborated on their analysis of the global economy at the semiannual “Global Economic Prospects-Spring 2017” seminar on April 12.

All three believe there is potential momentum in the world economy with some regions expected to fare better than others. In the United States, tax reform, healthcare reform, rolling back of regulations and fiscal spending suggest solid growth prospects in the near future.

This optimism is tempered by concerns in both fiscal and monetary policy. In fiscal policy, the Trump administration has been inconsistent at times on its precise policy objectives and has already had difficulty in passing health care and tax reform.

Monetary p…

The Problem with OneUnited and #BankBlack

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According to the New York Times,

"WASHINGTON — Top banking regulators were taken aback..when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said.

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Water’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board of directors until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the institution. Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators had been intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special as…

The First Bank Failure of 2008. US News and World Report. 1/28/2008

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The First Bank Failure of 2008. Luke Mullins. US News and World Report.
Bad commercial real estate loans sink a small financial institution in Kansas City.

A tiny bank in Kansas City, Mo., has become the first bank in the country to fail this year—but it's
unlikely to be the last.

Federal regulators on Friday shuttered Douglass National Bank, an African American owned
bank with $59 million in assets that was named in honor of the 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The bank, which has roots stretching back to the 1940s, had struggled of late, losing $1.3 million in 2007 and $4.3 million in 2006.

Although its recent losses were tied to bad commercial real estate loans, not residential mortgages, the bank's problems are nonetheless linked to the global mortgage crisis that has ripped through the financial services industry, says William Michael Cunningham of Creative Investment Research. "It's this secondary and tertiary impact of the crisis in the subprime mar…

Business under Trump

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We recently gave a talk to the Greater Houston Black Chamber (GHBC), at their monthly Business Luncheon “2nd Tuesday with the Chamber” on for February 14, 2017. The link at left is to a video of the discussion. I described the current economic environment for black businesses in Houston and provided a forecast for 2017. 

"Founded in 1935 as the city’s first African -American civic organization, the GHBC has evolved into an active participant in the City of Houston’s socioeconomic process. The organization is a 501(c) (6), not-for-profit, private, member-driven organization that serves the Greater Houston Area.  The GHBC is dedicated to supporting African-American small businesses in the areas of education, certification and accessing contracting opportunities and capital."

See: https://youtu.be/toYeng7PlRQ

​Taming​ ​the​ ​Tax​ ​Code - Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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Tax​ ​reform​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​major​ ​issue​ ​over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​several​ ​months. Both​ ​Congress​ ​and
President​ ​Trump​ ​have​ ​expressed​ ​a​ ​strong​ ​interest​ ​in​ ​reform.​ ​

A ​panel​ at George Washington University titled ​“A​ ​General​ ​Perspective on​ ​Taming​ ​the​ ​Tax​ ​Code:​ ​What​ ​Yesterday’s​ ​Reformers​ ​Can​ ​Teach​ ​Today’s​ ​Reformers”​ ​provided great​ ​insight​ ​into​ ​the​ ​methods​ ​and​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​reform​ ​from​ ​the​ ​perspective​ ​of​ ​the​ ​House​ ​Ways​ ​and Means​ ​Committee.

​Bill​ ​Archer(R-TX)​ ​and Charlie​ ​Rangel(D-NY)​ ​are​ ​both​ ​former​ ​committee​ ​chairmen​ ​and ​were​ ​members​ ​of​ ​​Ways and Means in 1986 when​ ​the​ ​tax​ ​code​ ​was​ ​last​ ​reformed​.​

​Rangel​ ​emphasized​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​the​ ​president in​ ​getting​ ​tax​ ​reform,​ ​specifically noting ​that the​ ​President’s​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​inspire​ ​confidence​ ​among​ ​the​ ​public​ ​and​ ​the Congress​ ​can​ ​be​ ​decisive​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fate​…