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This story at The Nation about Baltimore’s economic ills that have led to this city being the country’s latest hotspot on police conduct and inequality points to a Pew Research poll from a couple of years ago that provides the following take on how vastly different household assets and debts are between blacks and whites in the U.S.

Note that these are averages, not medians, and the latter would show a much more accurate picture of the “typical” black or white American.

Nonetheless, the asset-to-debt ratios and the components of each offer compelling evidence of just how broad the economic/financial divide currently is between races.

Another Stunning Long-Term Chart

From a recent presentation(.pdf) by Agustín Carstens, Bank of Mexico governor and chairman of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee, via this item at Wolf Street comes the chart below that, once again, reminds us all how far removed the global financial system is from anything that could be considered “normal”.

Carstens doesn’t oppose recent interest rate and QE policies by central banks, but he is quite concerned about how it all turns out, summing things up rather nicely by noting:

The crux of the matter is that financial risk-taking has been far more responsive to unconventional monetary policies than real risk-taking has been.

This would be less troubling (well, at least a little less troubling) if not for the fact that the world’s most important central bankers in general (and former Fed Chief Bernanke in particular) have never acknowledged that “the reach for yield” even exists.

Easing is Easy, Hiking is Hard

The recent weakness in major U.S. equity indexes (that now appears ready to continue for the fifth straight day) has surely not escaped the attention of Federal Reserve officials who have been attempting to “prepare markets” for the eventual end of super-accommodative monetary policy but, as shown below via this item at The Fiscal Times the other day, we’ve been down this road many times before since the 2008 financial crisis.

On a completely unrelated note, see this Friday Funny at reason.com that weighs in on the Ted Cruz presidential campaign announcement in The Next Political Messiah.

Conundrum 2.0

With the prospect of Federal Reserve rate hikes arriving sometime later this year comes talk of a possible conundrum similar to the one faced by former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan about a decade ago when short-term rates were nudged higher (baby-steps) but long-term rates didn’t budge. Of course, this was prime-time for one of the greatest asset inflation blow off tops in history, so, we might have that to look forward to again in the period ahead.

This topic is discussed in a Wall Street Journal story ($) today that includes the graphic below with another conundrum as indicated in red.

Also see this New York Times 3-D yield curve interactive graphic in which the U.S. public debt market looks rather normal as compared to what’s going on in Japan (length of time for unusually low rates) and Germany (recently negative rates with no end in sight).

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