Tag Archives: federal reserve

Financial field trips

Ever see millions of dollars get shredded into the trash? When does a dollar bill not, well, fit the bill anymore? Yesterday, EconomyStory took a field trip to the Federal Reserve branch in downtown LA with a group of NPR reporters here for the week from across the country to learn from experts about expanding their coverage of the economy.

The training program (more on that here) is taking reporters from places as remote as Rapid City, South Dakota and as bustling as New York City to hear from professors, researchers, and other journalists about concepts and issues like the mortgage crisis, securities regulation, and financial literacy.

At the Federal Reserve, one of 12 branch offices of the country’s central bank around the country, we learned how cash is transported and stored for banks around the country, what circumstances take a bill out of circulation, and even saw a real-live $10,000 bill. Most of our trip was off the record, so no pictures from the vault…sorry!)

Currency does seem to be the name of the game this week. Fittingly for our location in LA, Nightly Business Report tells us the True Hollywood Story of the dollar.

And NPR’s Planet Money blog shows us how one artist is taking coinage matters into his own hands.

Putting lawmakers (and readers!) to the test

If you’re confused about what’s going on with the economy, you’re not alone. It’s scary to think about the huge amount of information out there and hard to get a handle on what’s really important. And Capitol Hill isn’t faring much better.

While Congressional staffers and aides pore over documents for representatives daily, many legislators are still unclear on some basic financial concepts. Does Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) know what a derivative is? How much influence do lobbyists have over finance issues? Capitol News Connection turned the tables on Congress to see how much lawmakers really understand about the economy, and whether learning these concepts on the fly is sufficient for making decisions that can impact all of us.

Putting lawmakers to the test isn’t a new idea, but it is one that can inspire action. Nonprofit group WhyTuesday.org spent most of 2008 asking American leaders why we go to the polls on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, more than a few legislators were in the dark.

For the answer, watch:

To test your knowledge of the economy, the Federal Reserve of Boston has an in-depth series of quizzes. The topics range from women and the economy (During which year did the labor force participation rate of women peak?) to social security (How many years must a person have worked to qualify for social security benefits? ) to immigration (In the United States, what is the state with the highest share of Hispanic population?).