TLJ News from February 11-15, 2014

People and Appointments

2/12. President Obama nominated Francis Taylor to be the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis. See, White House news office release and release. He previously worked for General Electric.

Federal Reserve Board Presents Economic Report

2/11. The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing titled "Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy". The main witness was Janet Yellen, the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board (FRB). See, Monetary Policy Report [58 pages in PDF], and prepared testimony [7 pages in PDF]. The FRB report states that the economic recovery is continuing, the financial system continues to strengthen, and the labor market continues to improve.

Neither the FRB report, nor Yellen's prepared testimony, provide any information regarding the state of information or communications technology sectors, or their impact on the overall economy. However, one witness stressed the importance of internet access and online banking.

Abby McCloskey (American Enterprise Institute) wrote in her prepared testimony that the "new rules from the Dodd-Frank Act are having a regressive impact, making it more difficult for low income consumers to access mainstream banking. Access to safe savings and affordable credit is vital for economic opportunity."

Moreover, she wrote, banks are consolidating, and reducing the number of branches. "This consolidation disproportionately impacts low-income consumers for whom convenience is a major barrier to banking. Low-income individuals may live in rural areas where only a community bank existed before and may be unlikely to have reliable access to the Internet to engage in online banking."

In contrast to the FRB's glossy descriptions and predictions, John Taylor (Stanford University) wrote in his prepared testimony that "the U.S. economy continues to underperform" and that "Job growth has been too slow to raise employment relative the population, leaving the employment-to-population ratio below the recession low. While the unemployment rate has declined recently, much of the decline is due to an unusually large number of people dropping out of the labor force because of the weak recovery."

See also, prepared testimony of Mark Calabria (Cato Institute) and prepared testimony of Donald Kohn (Brookings Institution).

People and Appointments

2/11. The CompTIA and Technology Councils of North America (TCNA) held an event in Washington DC at which they presented Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) with their "2014 TechVoice Champion" awards. See also, Rep. Goodlatte's release and TCNA release.