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Engine of Inequality, by Karen Petrou

The first book to reveal how the Federal Reserve holds the key to making us more economically equal, written by an author with unparalleled expertise in the real world of financial policy.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy placed much greater focus on stabilizing the market than on helping struggling Americans. As a result, the richest Americans got a lot richer while the middle class shrank and economic and wealth inequality skyrocketed. In Engine of Inequality, Karen Petrou offers pragmatic solutions for creating more inclusive monetary policy and equality-enhancing financial regulation as quickly and painlessly as possible.

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“Petrou’s book uncovers a hidden engine of our skyrocketing inequality: financial-policy. In an accessible and engaging prose, Petrou takes us through the inner workings of monetary policy at the Fed and financial regulations, how they’ve made inequality worse and how they could instead be retooled to take us to a more equitable future. A novel look at the problem of inequality and bold ideas to help resolve it. A must read.”—Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics at the University of California Berkeley and author of The Triumph of Injustice

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Industry Expert

Federal Financial Analytics (FedFin) is a Washington-based financial services-consulting firm that has for decades attracted a high-powered clientele in Washington, on Wall Street, and among global central bankers. Since 1985 FedFin has provided a unique blend of analysis and strategic advice on public policy, regulatory, and legislative issues for industry and governmental clients doing business in the U.S. and abroad.

A proprietary think-tank for its clients, FedFin reviews critical federal and global policy developments in banking, insurance, asset management, and mortgage finance, analyzes them in great depth, and then advises clients on whether what they want can be made to work for them, within the policy environment and for the financial system. It is FedFin’s guiding principle to be an honest broker, and clients depend on the fact that the firm does not offer lobbying or any other services that could compromise its objectivity and independence.

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In the News

Wellesley Magazine, November 22, 2021

November 22nd, 2021|

Keeping Tabs on the Central Bank By Heather Long ’04 Karen Dolmatch Petrou ’75 still remembers the exact words the Bank of America chief executive said to her in 1985. He “did not feel good about making a young woman a senior VP.” Karen was 32 at the time, and [...]

MarketWatch, Best New Ideas in Money Podcast, Thursday, November 18, 2021

November 18th, 2021|

A financial innovation that could cure diseases BioBonds would help fuel a key stage of medical research that often struggles to get funding. A podcast from MarketWatch in which Karen and Foundation Fighting Blindness CEO Ben Yerxa are interviewed on the BioBonds legislation.  They explain how the greatest problem facing [...]

American Banker, BankThink, Wednesday, November 17, 2021

November 17th, 2021|

Fireworks over OCC nominee distract from bigger policy issue By Karen Petrou Tomorrow, the Senate Banking Committee will hold Saule Omarova's confirmation hearing for comptroller of the currency. Many expect this to be a knock-down, drag-out between the progressive bank-reform agenda and the banking industry's antipathy thereto. This it surely [...]

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Economic Equality Blog

Economic Equality Blog is aimed at showing central banks and financial regulators how to put their formidable thumbs on the equality scale in favor of those whose income and wealth suffer so much in the wake of the great financial crisis.

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The Vault

Karen Petrou: Why Naming Powell was Hard, Confirming Him Will Be Harder and Being Him Will Be Hardest

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year is up fourteen percent, not counting the sixty percent hike it costs to buy the gas to get to grandma's.  This of course only compounds the political challenge facing the Biden Administration when it tries to confirm its choices for the next iteration of the Federal Reserve Board.  However, while inflation is indeed a lightning rod, [...]

November 22nd, 2021|Categories: The Vault|

Karen Petrou: The Real Problem in the Omarova Hearing

Later this week, the Senate Banking Committee will hold Saule Omarova's confirmation hearing for Comptroller of the Currency.  Many expect this to be a knock-down, drag-out between the progressive bank-reform agenda and the banking industry's antipathy thereto.  This it surely will be, but to watch only these fireworks is to miss the longer-burning fire below: renewed questions about whether banks are public utilities or private companies with unique privileges fully [...]

November 15th, 2021|Categories: The Vault|

Karen Petrou: When Economic Theory Meets Political Reality

In a thought-provoking column on Friday, former Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Kocherlakota asked if the Fed is playing politics with interest rates.  As he points out, this is a troubling prospect, albeit wholly an unproven one.  What doesn't need proof, though, is that interest rates are playing a deadly game with politics.  Last Tuesday, economic theory met political reality in yet another collision in which voters made it [...]

November 8th, 2021|Categories: The Vault|
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