Blacks should start preparing to manage a future electoral clash between whites and Hispanics…

Blacks don’t have the numbers and it will get worse, unless….

Back in August I wrote the following regarding representative democracy’s failure of black people:

“Representative democracy has failed black people in America.  The representatives from the black community in Washington have been converted into agents for their respective party’s leadership, securing the votes needed so that they can pull up a chair at the trough.  Just like social media has turned subscribers to social networks into resource and product for advertisers, the electoral system has turned black voters into lumps of coal with black congressmen acting as the conveyor belt carrying the coal to the primaries and the national elections.”

In addition to this major fail of black leadership and representative democracy will be the further weakening of black political capital as a result of demographics.  According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the portion of the American population identifying as “black” will increase to 13.3% in 2060, barely budging from the 2014 statistic of 13%.  Meanwhile, the population identifying as “Hispanic” will see their percentage of the population increase to 25.5% in 2060 up from 13% in 2014.

The population identifying as “white” will represent 49.4% of the U.S. population in 2060, down from the 2014 figure of 68.8%.

As a voting bloc, I expect that Hispanics will cement their position as the go-to ethnic group that sways at least the popular vote for president. The current “people of color” movement may have run its course by then depending on how much farther the interests of both groups diverge.  Assuming that blacks and Hispanics occupy in 2060 the regions of the country they mostly occupy today, there may not be a demographic clash.  Blacks still mostly occupy the south and southeastern United States while Hispanics mostly occupy Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, and New York.  Two of the states, California and Florida, because of the number of electoral votes they carry, will continue to influence the popular vote and the Electoral College vote.  Hispanics will be in a position to exercise substantial electoral clout.

This clout may come in handy on policy issues such as immigration and trade.  Blacks have expressed animosity to policy that favors immigration because they see immigrants from Latin American countries as competitive cheap labor.  Hispanics see immigration as access to better pay and living conditions while trade benefits Latino populations living on both sides of the southwestern border where there is an opportunity to access and transport more goods and services at affordable prices.

The issue for black political leaders will be how best to manage a political environment, based on a failed representative framework, within which the struggle for public capital will only intensify. One solution may be to go external and manipulate the system from the outside.

Manipulate the equation…Raise the ante….

Yvette Carnell last night described a voting strategy for getting the Democratic Party to take notice of black voters without black voters giving away all of their electoral capital.  The “down ballot” tactic allows black voters to exercise the option of skipping Democratic candidates for president, vice-president, Congress, etc., where those candidates do not offer adequate public policy in exchange for the vote.  Ms. Carnell stresses that blacks should just not show up, but should instead go to the polls and cast a vote on other issues reflected on the ballot with the goal of letting Democrats know that the voter showed up but did not see on the ballot a candidate that presented an adequate black agenda.

Another tactic I would suggest is that blacks skip the primaries and that this practice should start in 2020. Skipping the primaries raises not only uncertainty in both parties, especially the Democratic Party, but would force the parties to pay more attention to black public policy needs and start preparing substantive packages in advance of election so that packages can be put in place soon after an election.

I believe these are the sort of tactics that blacks should implement now in order to strategically position themselves as the price giver versus price takers.

Conclusion: A more active listening public administrator

There is no guarantee 40 years out that black political leaders external to the government will follow the above strategies in the face of changing demographics and political power.  Public administrators should get in the habit of being forward looking, however, as demands of the electorate in the political markets will call for changes in approach to governance.  To stay valid, public administrators have to listen to two constituencies: the elected official that oversees them, and the electorate that at least in theory oversees them both.

 

 

Deep down inside, Democrats want a tyrant …

The executive in a republican form of government …

In a republican form of government, the goal is to temper the passions of the masses in order to maximize your goal for governing: the garnering of the spoils from capturing the government; to direct public capital in a way that awards leadership while placating the citizenry.  Populism is to be squelched if the state is to be efficiently administered.  You can’t have efficient administration if the executive is constantly competing with a citizenry that makes demands for more resources where such demands tend to be driven more by emotion and a limited view of alternatives for garnering resources versus pragmatism.  If the framers of the American constitution got one thing right it was that governance should include a mechanism for keeping the passions of the electorate in check.

Squelching populism is necessary ….

To proceed with the squelching of populism and the promotion of republicanism, you will have to get rid of the notion of the strong, independent executive. The existence of a strong, independent executive indicates that there is a significant majority whose popular vote propelled that executive into office.  Keeping a strong, independent executive in check is the goal of a citizenry seeking to maximize its liberty to trade and use its private capital as it pleases.  Eradicating populism protects the individual from this clear and present danger to her liberty.

I should add that this argument is not about protecting the rich from a future Elizabeth Warren-type presidency.  This protection extends to people like me who are not affluent or well connected.  We, too, have liberties that we do not wish to be trampled upon, including the freedom to be left alone.

This brings me to a second approach to squelching populism: destroying the notion that government is designed to protect you.  Social programs for and income transfers to the poor are not about protecting the less fortunate.  Social programs and income transfers are more about buying votes and keeping the barbarians from knocking down the gates.  A strong, independent executive can use such programs to engender fealty, creating a standing army of passion-driven, unenlightened majorities willing to do their part in the executive’s suppression of the minority’s liberties.

People are, for a government, a resource to be managed, not a ruling force to be submitted to.  The executive should not be bolstered or subjugated by the masses.  This check on the executive should come from the state and national legislatures, bodies that are directly elected by the masses and who, because of their proximity to and familiarity with the people’s unique needs, are best suited for addressing the “distractions” the masses could cause the executive.

Democratic Party hypocrisy …

The Democratic Party feigns anger at Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016.  They have to in order to validate their supporters belief that the political system was supposed to serve their perceptions of fairness.  In actuality, the Democratic Party had no choice but to accept the outcome of the November 2016 election because the outcome showed that the majority of the populace will not be able to create mandates that handcuff a Democratic victor in the future.

Mr. Trump’s share of the popular vote in 2016 and his current job approval rating demonstrates that for all his “going public” efforts and his blustery personality, he is still handcuffed; he is not an independent executive.  The republican form of government still allows the Democratic Party to keep the President in their political cross-hairs by signaling that the President does not have majority support acting as a moat that protects him.  The republican form of government should also give the Democratic Party some hope that if they ran a candidate with the right campaign game plan, that they could manipulate the Electoral College for a victorious outcome.

Observation: Democratic voters want a tyrant ….

The Democratic Party’s supporters, however, want a tyrant. The rank and file voter supports the populist agenda, thus would support a strong, independent leader spawned by populism.  The emotionalism of the average Democratic voter gives me pause because it tells me that this voter has not fully thought through what they are asking for from a populist leader.  A populist leader, as I discussed before, will keep the goody bag filled in order to maintain that support.  It is what they ask for in return for their political packages is what concerns me.

 

Diversity is a fraud.

As a black person I have grown increasingly suspect over the years of calls for diversity. It is not that I have succumbed to another race’s false sense of superiority over mine. It is because diversity is really nothing but an expression of weakness by blacks in America. It is a rallying cry for inclusion of those blacks who consider themselves the cream of the crop and deserving to be placed ahead of other blacks due to their education and their networks. Diversity is a willingness to shun the need to generate and contribute real economic value settling instead for creating arguments that have at their base the need to make white people feel guilty. Diversity is a feel good political package sold to black voters who stand as much of a chance of breaking glass ceilings as the Atlanta Falcons have at playing in the Super Bowl in next year.

As an expression of weakness, calls for diversity are calls for permission to enter a house you are otherwise unwelcome in. We’ve heard the arguments. “Inclusion is the right thing to do.” “Dr. King died because he believed we are all equal in character.” ” It is immoral to exclude people, etc. etc.” It really boils down to begging to be included, basing arguments on weak moral grounds that can fade away when tough economic times appear and animal spirits rise up to battle for scarce capital and jobs.

Diversity benefits only those who come from a certain pedigree. In the real world, diversity doesn’t get most blacks a full time job with benefits. What gets people work in the real world are skill sets that bring value to an employer’s efforts at output and a network that through his new employee an employer can tap into. This is especially important in an information driven economy where workers are no longer “nodes for manufacturing”, where the emphasis is on an employee’s manufacturing skills, but instead is a “node of information”, where the employee uses technology to gather data that helps his employer make the best resource allocations.

The flip side to this argument is that blacks may not be in the position to be “information nodes” given centuries of being locked out of certain networks. My answer is, tough. After being in North America for 400 years and 153 of those years post slavery, Black Americans have had opportune time to accumulate the educational and work experience to access information, garner the appropriate skills, and build valuable networks. Instead of diversifying ourselves into a system dominated by a racial majority and created for a racial majority, blacks need to offset the negative repercussions of the current system by supplementing the current system with a dose of increased self-reliance.

Earlier I described diversity as a feel good political package designed by a political party dominated by white people and sold by an educated small black elite to the masses of black voters. It is a weak package that is comprised of slight modifications to existing civil rights and labor laws with no meaningful transfer of capital involved. It is empty with the only blacks getting paid being the fraternity and sorority boys and girls who have some mid-level office driving cars that they look good in. Diversity has not translated into a political economy that takes us to a higher form of human engagement, one where the basic needs of all are truly provided for.

Diversity is a fraud.

For data brokers, California and Vermont are only the beginning….

Washington’s focus on data brokers is blurry …

Congress has been distracted recently with the question of whether or not to impeach and eventually remove the President from office.  The discussion is taking up a lot of oxygen in Washington, but eventually the inside-the-beltway gang will turn itself back to other matters and I believe among those matters will be a national treatment of data privacy.

Pushing the desire for a national treatment of data privacy is the call on the part of broadband companies for federal privacy legislation that treats broadband providers, such as AT&T and Comcast, the same way as Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

While the data broker business model differs from that of a broadband infrastructure provider, the common denominator for congressman and consumer is data and its protection.  Cambridge Analytica’s mishandling of data it obtained from Facebook served to blend in Congress and the consumers’ minds that a bad act on the part of one player automatically taints all other players in the chain of data possession.

The federal and state attempts at reining in data brokers …

On the federal side, Congress has dipped its toe on the “regulate the data brokers” pool with introduction of S. 2342, the Data Broker List Act.  Introduced by Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, and co-sponsored by Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, the Act, if passed, would require that data brokers register annually with the Federal Trade Commission.

Under the Data Broker List Act, there would be certain requirements regarding the acquisition and brokering of personal information, including the requirement that brokered data not be acquired through fraudulent means, and that acquired or brokered personal data not be used for stalking or harassing another person; committing financial or e-mail fraud, or engaging in unlawful discrimination, including discrimination involving credit, employment, or housing.

Data brokers would also be required to implement and maintain a comprehensive information security program designed to protect personal data against hacks and other breaches.

Two states are ahead of the federal government when it comes to legislation regulating data brokers.  Under the Vermont Data Broker Law, there is also a requirement for the annual registration of data brokers with the Vermont secretary of state where company name and physical, email, and internet addresses are required. Data brokers are also required to implement and maintain an information security program that protects Vermont consumers from theft or fraudulent use of personally identifiable information.

California AB 1202 requires that data brokers register with the state’s attorney general, providing company name and physical, email, and internet address.  The legislation, which takes effect next January, is not as comprehensive as Vermont’s statute or the proposed federal data broker legislation in terms of requiring an information security program.

What’s next …

As state legislatures begin their sessions in the next couple of months, data brokers should continue to stay on the look out for pre-filed bills and keep their ears to the ground for any media chatter concerning data privacy protection. Data brokers may also continue refining arguments that promote the positive role they play in ensuring that data that brings value to commercial actors i.e. lenders, landlords, retailers, etc., gets to these market participants thus ensuring that consumers get the products that best suit their needs.

Bubba, Bonds, and Blacks …

As much as blacks loved Bill Clinton, blacks never applied the most important political lesson Bubba himself learned: He who controls the bond markets, wins. Collective or group politics hasn’t gotten blacks much of anything over the past 50 years, but a collective, focused targeting of the bond markets just might.

Yes, there are a few “here and there” types posting on LinkedIn about how well their panel discussions are going and how many awards they are receiving from some social justice warrior group, but the masses are not winning because most of the cream is staying in the cups on the top.

What Mr Clinton realized back in 1994 was that re-election hinged on a happy bond market. Maintaining an economy with low interest rates meant increases in asset prices leading to higher valued collateral upon which more credit could be issued.

Now imagine if 13% of the American population were able to take a 13% position in the bond market. The potential shock waves that synchronized buying and selling would cause would have policy makers asking that group, “Hey! What do you want?”
Blacks wouldn’t need another “get out and vote drive” ever again. The Montgomery bus boycott would pale in significance.

Unfortunately, the inside the box, plantation mentality of partisan politics, especially as orchestrated by liberals, keeps blacks in “Massa ain’t gave me permission yet” mindset. I am seeing cracks in that narrative, but there is still more work to be done….

“You mean to tell me that the success of the economic program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?” — William Jefferson Clinton

“I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.” — James Carville

Balkanizing internet regulation is out of step with the uniformity needs of financial technology

The eye-catcher ….

In two weeks, state utility regulators will convene in San Antonio, Texas for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners annual meeting to discuss how they can leverage a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals-DC Circuit that the Federal Communications Commission cannot preempt state regulation of concerns over consumer access to and privacy on the internet via broadband.

Some states such as California have moved ahead with their own net neutrality laws, hoping to enforce consumer protections by prohibiting internet access providers from lowering traffic speed from certain websites or preventing internet service providers from favoring their own content by blocking a consumer’s access to content that the consumer prefers.

The state-by-state approach problem

The problem with a state-by-state approach for a financial technology firm is the uncertainty that data and capital face when they traverse state borders. Will a content delivery firm tasked with storing and transmitting financial data on behalf of a financial technology firm have to enter into different interconnection agreements per state because of the differing consumer privacy laws encountered in each state?  Will differing requirements on paid prioritization result in financial data traffic slowing down depending on which state border it crosses?

There is an irony that on a global basis, the United States is a staunch proponent of freer cross-border data flows, but would run the risk of subjecting those same data flows to a hodge-podge of regulations that create digital toll roads for financial data traffic.

The changing consumer taste in banking

What federal and state policy makers should be focusing on is ensuring the amount of bandwidth necessary for digital transmission of financial data and capital is available.  Our use of digital banking services will not be shrinking anytime soon.  MediaCom Business cited data in a blog post that 92% of millennials make their choices as to where to bank based on the digital services a bank offers.  Legacy banks hoping to compete with digital upstarts are accepting this type of demand an, as found by consulting firm Accenture, are exploring how best to integrate and deploy technology necessary for meeting this demand.

Recommendation: Seamless versus Balkanization

The supply of digital banking and payment systems services combined with increasing demand for these services means more bandwidth is needed in order to optimize the consumer experience.  State and federal policy makers can facilitate this need for increased bandwidth by focusing policy on ensuring the delivery of this infrastructure.  Coming up with 50 different rules on net neutrality is more distraction than help.

What should be spawned in next month’s NARUC meeting is a recommendation for national legislation on consumer privacy.  Consumer privacy concerns should no longer be leveraged to create 50-plus fiefdoms for net neutrality.  Transmission of information, data, and knowledge should be a seamless experience for consumer and firms that use financial technology to transmit value and capital.

Rural areas have a demand for technical skills

The Internet Innovation Association, a broadband advocacy group, citing research by National Public Radio and Harvard University, found that when it comes to training that will get rural residents further ahead economically, rural residents place a higher priority on computer and technical skills.  Twenty-five percent of respondents cited computer and technical skills followed closely behind by 24% saying that a first or more advanced degree would best help a rural resident keep or find a better job in her community.

Coming in at 17% were writing and research skills, presentation and public speaking, and skills for starting a business.

This data seems in line with the observation that the United States is moving further into an information economy.  These skills are increasingly necessary for workers seeking to make a living in an economy where extraction, production, and storage of knowledge is a process taking place more and more online.  To be a competing port of call in the information trade, rural residents will have to garner these skills on varying levels.

What should state and local law and policy makers be doing?  They should first continue to encourage deployment of infrastructure necessary for carrying additional “load”, to use an electric grid term.  With more rural residents learning computer skills, the United States will need the digital capacity that can accommodate more digital workers.  A continuously minimum regulatory infrastructure is key.  State and local governments should bear in mind that broadband infrastructure requires significant amounts of investment.

USTelecom reports that $1.6 billion has been invested in broadband since 1996, the year that the Communications Act was amended to reflect a public policy that encourages advanced communications.  This investment has paid off not only in terms of  more advanced communications infrastructure, but with the addition of edge providers such as Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon.

Law and policy makers who are sincerely mindful of the need for an economy that can accommodate demand for digital workers should always remember that investment and a light touch regulatory scheme works.