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Federal Reserve Bankers Laugh and Laugh at Unemployed, Drug-Dependent Americans

Compassion. It's what makes the Federal Reserve so special.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Working class people — aren't they just the absolute worst? Yes, but thanks to the power of laughter, Federal Reserve bankers are able to tolerate these two-legged parasites.

According to recently released transcripts, Federal Reserve bankers had a heck of a good time chatting about lazy, good-for-nothing Americans in 2011. No mention of the fact that the United States was still reeling from one of the worst financial meltdowns in recent memory. No. According to Federal Reserve officials, high unemployment numbers in 2011 were the direct result of Joe Lunchpail not getting excited enough about career paths at Walmart.

<figcaption>A stock photo we found on the Federal Reserve's website</figcaption>
A stock photo we found on the Federal Reserve's website

As the Intercept reports:

The Federal Reserve’s mandate is to promote “maximum employment,” which essentially means: print enough money so that everyone who wants one has a job. Yet according to transcripts released this month after the traditional five-year waiting period, Federal Reserve officials in November 2011 were debating whether unemployment was caused by bad work ethics and drug use – rather than by the greatest financial crisis in 80 years. This debate then factored into the argument over setting monetary policy.

“I frequently hear of jobs going unfilled because a large number of applicants have difficulty passing basic requirements like drug tests or simply demonstrating the requisite work ethic,” said Dennis Lockhart, a former Citibank executive who ran the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. “One contact in the staffing industry told us that during their pretesting process, a majority—actually, 60 percent of applicants—failed to answer ‘0’ to the question of how many days a week it’s acceptable to miss work.”

The room of central bankers then broke into laughter.

The laugh track continues, though:

It was hardly the first time these bankers blamed unemployment on the unemployed, rather than, say, bankers. In an April meeting that year, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeff Lacker told participants that “Several firms told us of difficulty finding adequate workers, because they preferred to collect unemployment benefits or can’t pass drug tests.” He reiterated that point in November, saying that in West Virginia he was told by an employment agency that “unquestionably the biggest problem in hiring skilled and unskilled workers was the inability to pass a drug test.”

Lacker’s Federal Reserve district includes West Virginia. In August, he again spoke of “widespread reports about hard drug use, OxyContin and methamphetamine, in Appalachia and other rural parts of our District—in particular, Appalachia.”

Apparently his colleagues responded with laughter again, because he then said “Drug abuse and the hardship involved in unemployment aren’t really laughing matters.” Usage, he noted, isn’t higher than the national norm in West Virginia. “It’s hard to pin this down quantitatively,” he continued, wondering if there was “something meaningful there as a contributor to impediments to labor market functioning.”

It's nice to know that they're looking after us little guys.

When do we get to audit these jerk-offs? And drug test them? We want to know how many mountains of cocaine they snort each year. This information is included in GAO audits, right?


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