Janet Yellen Speaks Out on Inequality and Opportunity in America

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2014-10-27 Yellen at FRB BostonLast week, the Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen spoke about inequality and opportunity in America. Her remarks were based on recent results from the Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The survey includes roughly 6,000 U.S. households and provides specific details about their income, wealth, and debt. This look at family balance sheets formed the basis for Chair Yellen’s remarks on inequality and economic opportunity in the U.S.

You can watch the video, read the full speech, and view the slides at the bottom of this page.

I wanted to highlight for you the four building blocks of economic opportunity that were identified by Chair Yellen in her speech, along with some supporting charts from the survey. In future posts, we’ll dive more deeply into the topic of inequality.

Four Building Blocks of Economic Opportunity in America

#1. Resources Available for Children

2014-10-24 Yellen 1 Fig 9Figure 9 above shows that access to quality early childhood education has improved since the 1990s, but it remains limited–41% of children were enrolled in state or federally supported programs in 2013.

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Teacher Spotlight: Amy Evers

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TeacherSpotlightEvers4Our Spotlight series continues this week, where we talk with teachers who are making a difference in the field of economic education.

In today’s installment, we’re talking with Amy Evers, who teaches AP U.S. government, AP economics (macro and micro), US government honors, and “We are the People” at Clark High School in Las Vegas, NV.

Here is what she had to say:

How long have you been teaching economics?  What do you love most about it?

This is my sixth year teaching economics. Initially when I was told I would teach the class I not excited at all! I struggled with economics in college and was concerned that I would only confuse students since I was quite confused as well. However, I saw it as a challenge that I had to overcome.

I spent the summer teaching myself economics and went to an AP Economics Summer Institute for additional help. The first year was difficult at times but I had a very understanding group of students and things gradually got easier.

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Tune in this weekend: “10 Things You Don’t Know About Money” on H2

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10-things-you-dont-know-about-807Earlier this year, punk rocker turned History Channel program host Henry Rollins visited the Los Angeles Branch of the San Francisco Fed to film an episode for his 10 Things You Don’t Know About series.

Rollins and the show’s producers wanted to focus on a relatively obscure era in our nation’s currency history – when currency circulating in Hawaii was replaced with specially marked notes in anticipation of a potential invasion by Japan during World War II. Fed Historian Gary Richardson was interviewed about these “Hawaii notes.”

Rollins also interviewed Cash Director Rita Aguilar about the Fed’s cash operations and the use of the shredded currency to generate electricity.

Watch the episode when it airs this Saturday, October 11th, at 10:00pm ET / 11:00pm PT on H2.

The program will also be available on History.com, iTunes, and Amazon.

Also, in case you missed it: Five Things You May Not Know About Money

Andrea Abrams contributed to this post. Photo via.

 

 

 

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Personal finance blog resources

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Last week, we suggested a few economics blogs as resources.  This week, we’re turning our focus to blogs that address topics related to personal finance and financial literacy.

These blogs were all winners of the Plutus Awards at the 5th Annual FinCon Expo, a peer conference for the financial media community.

Best New Personal Finance Blog: Listen, Money Matters!

2014-10-1-Listen-money-mattersAndrew Fiebert and Matt Giovanisci hail from New England, and they have self-proclaimed themselves a personal finance nerd and a reformed debt addict, respectively. Together, they explore money issues and share their research and learning with the purpose of helping others along the same path towards financial freedom and early retirement. They also maintain a podcast.

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Girl Scouts visit Phoenix Processing Center

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2014.07.30Phoenix-GirlScouts-tour-launch2Just a quick post today to share a photo of Troop 966 (Peoria, AZ) from the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, along with representatives of our Fed outreach team.  These young women visited the SF Fed Phoenix Processing Center over the summer and got hands-on practice with personal finance by calculating income and creating a budget, along with learning how to save towards financial goals.

The Girl Scouts also viewed our cash operations and saw the coin and cash supply for the state of Arizona, while learning about the life cycle of cash in the U.S. A treasure hunt for piggy bank souvenirs completed their visit.

If you know an Arizona Girl Scout troop that would like to participate in our Phoenix office’s Girl Scout VIP Pass program, see the flyer below for more information.

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Teacher Spotlight: Greg Blandino

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Our Spotlight series continues this week, where we talk with teachers who are making a difference in the field of economic education.

Blandino-GregIn today’s installment, we’re talking with Greg Blandino, who teaches AP economics (micro and macro) and college prep economics at Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA.

Here is what he had to say:

How long have you been teaching economics?  What do you love most about it?

I’ve been teaching economics for 27 years.  I love when students connect their day-to-day behavior to economics ideas, theories, and principles discussed in the classroom.

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Educators “Meet the Experts” in San Francisco

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What happens when you mix brilliant economic minds and keen educators? An enthusiastic day of discussion, questions, professional development, and yes – even some fun! We recently hosted 70 educators from throughout the 12th District at our head office in San Francisco for Meet the Experts (MTE), a speaker series designed to provide secondary and post-secondary educators with an opportunity to interact with leaders from throughout the Bank.

MTE brand bannerWith MTE, our objective is to highlight emerging issues in the economy and foster greater understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve. See how we strove towards that goal with the day’s agenda.  Remember to return to this blog in the following weeks as we’ll be providing tips for discussing this year’s MTE topics with your students.

Lansing

Kevin Lansing presented on asset bubbles

The day started off with a dive right into economics content and a very timely topic: asset price bubbles. Kevin Lansing, Research Advisor for our Economic Research group, took the audience through a brief history of bubbles (notably the Tulip Mania bubble from 17th century Netherlands), then touched on three points that explain bubbles: forecasts based on past price movements, social dynamics and human emotion, and market structure. Kevin also discussed policy implications of lessons learned from price bubbles. His presentation slides are here.

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Spreading our wings beyond the bald eagle: wildlife on United States currency

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This post is by guest writer Andrea Abrams, who is a Senior Coordinator with the SF Fed’s Economic Education department.  Andrea leads a team of 38 staff outreach volunteers in our Los Angeles and Phoenix Branches who provide tours and personal finance workshops.  Read her full bio here.

Most students know that the bald eagle features prominently on the United States cash in their wallet. When it comes to frogs, reindeer, and bison, however, students may be in for a surprise.

Wildlife meets economics in our nation’s cash past.

Fighting frogs

Some of the earliest American notes were issued by private banks, and often contained imagery that was meaningful to the local community.  For example, the currency of Windham Bank, which was located in eastern Connecticut, featured a unique symbol that originated in local folklore.

A legend holds that one night in 1754, two local men were terrified by ferocious sounds of battle drawing near. Eager to protect their fellow residents, the two rushed home to gather reinforcements for what was presumed to be an enemy attack in association with the French and Indian War. No attackers were found, but in the morning the area was filled with thousands of bullfrogs who had apparently done battle the night before, possibly over the small amount of water in a nearby pond. This episode was immortalized in poetry and song…and on the local currency when Windham Bank issued a $5 private banknote depicting two frogs in combat.

2014.08.20 Spreading our wings beyond the bald eagle 1

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