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The Fed, explained

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Image of Federal Reserve Building

The Federal Reserve building is seen January 22, 2008 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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By now, you’ve probably heard that Jerome Powell has been nominated to serve another four years as chair of the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank. As we talked about on the show Monday, the decision boiled down to a political calculus. But what does the Fed do anyway? And why do we need it?

“The main reason why the Fed itself was created was because in the lead-up to 1913, which is when it was created, there were a bunch of bank runs. It was sort of every bank for itself back then, where banks would issue their own money. There wasn’t a central source of money printing. And so, if one bank maybe ran into trouble, people would run and pull their money out,” said Victoria Guida, who covers the Federal Reserve for Politico.

So basically, the Fed is supposed to be there when things go wrong to maintain the health of our economy. But the Fed does a lot of other things, like control borrowing costs and regulate banks.

On the show today, Guida explains the evolution of the Fed, how it touches the life of every person in this economy and why it could be making wealth inequality worse.

In the News Fix, we stick with the theme of the day and highlight a story about why presidents shouldn’t mess with the independence of the central bank. Also, inflation is coming to a dollar store near you.

Later, we’ll hear from a listener who is changing up his holiday shopping habits this year and talk Thanksgiving turducken-inspired cocktails!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

We will be off the rest of the week for the holiday break. We are so grateful for our listeners and wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

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