Take the early 2000s, for example. During the recession caused by the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the Fed lowered rates almost to zero, yet the stimulative effect was strikingly weak. Aside from today’s economy, the 2000s expansion was by far the weakest in postwar history, despite being driven by a housing bubble of world-historical proportions and enormous deficit spending. Then came the financial crisis in late 2007 and early 2008. When the economy fell into recession, the Fed started to lower rates sharply and reached near zero by late 2008. (For complicated reasons, the Fed refuses to go all the way to zero.) This action, coupled with the sizable fiscal stimulus of 2009, was enough to stave off a full-blown depression, but it was not enough to prevent mass unemployment, which spiked to over 10 percent and, more importantly, has come down at an agonizing pace. The prime working-age employment rate collapsed during the crisis, and has barely budged since (see Graph 4). Free Money For Bills
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The Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (WAPTAC) can connect you with state-specific grant programs for home improvements to reduce energy expenses. If you have children, a family member in the home with a disability, or are over age 60, you’ll get preference for approval. In fact, the DOE estimates that as many as 20-30 million homes are eligible for weatherization grants. Free Money For Disabled Veterans
The fourth and final policy proposal on the table is what I’ll call the “helicopter money” option. It too is fairly simple. Under such a policy (which could be combined with aspects of the first three), every U.S. citizen would receive a regular payment, in the form of, say, a check from the Internal Revenue Service. The amount of each check would change depending on the health of the economy, but it could be fairly substantial during times of economic slack. To jar us out of our current slump, for instance, I’d start with payments on the order of $2,000 per person. These checks would arrive on an as-needed basis, depending on the state of the economy.
Handing the reins to the Fed is a good idea for another reason: it would give the Fed a policy tool that shares the fine-tuning properties of the interest rate mechanism, but without the constraint of the zero lower bound and the tendency to create skyrocketing household debt. When the economy is running hot, threatening inflation, the Fed could slow deposits to a trickle (or raise rates), but when recession strikes, it could speed them back up again, quickly and easily. After all, in order for macroeconomic stabilization policy to work, it must be adjusted frequently and quickly—especially in the computer age, when recessions can gather force with astonishing speed.
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This period was called the “Great Moderation.” While real GDP growth was substantially slower than during the thirty-year postwar boom, there were fewer sharp booms and recessions, mostly because the Fed no longer induced recessions deliberately. But there were a few more features of this new, more moderate economy that policy elites didn’t fully appreciate right away. The first was that income inequality began to take off. Starting in the ’80s, productivity gains were no longer shared with workers. Therefore, the wage share of the economy began to decrease. As a percentage of total output, wages have fallen from a high of almost 52 percent around 1970 to less than 43 percent today (see Graph 1). Meanwhile, inequality within wages also increased. The upshot? The rich began capturing nearly all the results of economic growth—the top 1 percent’s share of national income increased from about 8 percent in the mid-’70s to about 23 percent today. Free Money Accounts
In addition to helping individual clients work through the array of questions and concerns surrounding federal grants, the attorneys in the Federal Grants group lead online webinars and in-person trainings and seminars for thousands of grantees each year on issues from cost allocation and time and effort reporting to governance and program monitoring. Federal Grant Home Buyers
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Anyway, the train heist is merely a minor plot point, so I'm guessing that maybe that's why the movie bombed. Audiences were probably expecting a heist story with a solid, formula plot (probably along the scale of "Oceans Twelve"), and I'm guessing they felt extremely uncomfortable with the film's humble speed. The big-name cast also probably didn't help, because the film has a real 'Canadian provincial' feel to it (Hollywood, this film is not!). Nevertheless, the entire cast is fantastic; particularly Thomas Haden Church who I never would have guessed was the same guy in "Sideways"! Perhaps I'm just nuts, but I think this is a sleeper gem that has yet to find its true audience. Federal Grant Life Cycle
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant picks up where the Academic Competitiveness Grant leaves off—providing funding for low-income third and fourth year college students. Eligible students must be Pell Grant recipients, academically talented and majoring in STEM fields or high need foreign languages. SMART Grant annual maximums are up to $4000 per qualified student. Federal Grant Drawdown Procedures
A Project Grant consists of funds distributed by the government for a specific "project" or area of research. Project grants are often given to members of the science, education and technology communities, provided that the applicants qualify and meet a few prerequisite guidelines. Generally, an applicant must have completed certain criteria or qualifications beforehand, (which is outlined in detail for the specific grant desired), and project grants generally have an end day when the funding discontinues. The average duration period for a project grant is around three years. Federal Grant Audit Requirements
The third policy option is known as nominal gross domestic product targeting, the major proponent of which is the economist Scott Sumner. The idea is all about self-fulfilling expectations. Recall that the central bank owns the printing press, so it can create arbitrary quantities of dollars. By making a pre-commitment to keep the economy on a particular spending trajectory, self-fulfilling collapses in spending would not happen. Something similar to this policy seems to have kept Australia and Israel out of the Great Recession. But in order to sustain such a policy, the Fed might have to intervene in the economy quite frequently, and then the distributional consequences could be serious. Quantitative easing, for example, helps push up asset prices (the stock market has regained all the ground lost since 2009 and then some), which disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Free Money Machine