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You Know, The Federal Reserve… For Kids

This article was written by in Economy, Education, Internet. 12 comments.

Does it have large talons?While we’re all anticipating an increase in the Federal Reserve’s short-term interest rate, the Fed has been busy creating a website for kids. The aptly named Federal Reserve Kids Page contains an eagle with large talons and mildly interesting trivia aimed at middle schoolers and those needing a refresher course on the twelve Federal Reserve Districts.

It’s great the the government’s trying to help parents educate their children about economic policy. There’s even a quiz for kids and companion education website that seems to be geared towards high school students or anyone seeking detailed information.

I’m sure government resources for developing a kids’ website are limited. Otherwise the effort may have been more successful. Take a look at Planet Orange for a comparison.

Updated June 20, 2014 and originally published March 28, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Suresh

At http://www.federalreserve.gov/kids/#inflation, the Fed explains what inflation is:
“9. What is inflation?
Inflation means that the general level of prices of goods and services is increasing. When inflation is rapid, the prices of goods and services can increase faster than consumers’ income, and that means the amount of goods and services consumers are able to purchase goes down. In other words, the purchasing power of money has declined. With inflation, a dollar buys less and less over time.”

What’s wrong with the Fed’s definition? Inflationdata.com’s “What is the Real Definition of Inflation?” article suggests that the Fed’s definition is nothing short of backwards! The following is an excerpt.

Webster’s 1983 Definition of Inflation.

According to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary published in 1983 the second definition of “inflation” after “the act of inflating or the condition of being inflated” is:

“An increase in the amount of currency in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices: it may be caused by an increase in the volume of paper money issued or of gold mined, or a relative increase in expenditures as when the supply of goods fails to meet the demand.

This definition includes some of the basic economics of inflation and would seem to indicate that inflation is not defined as the increase in prices but as the increase in the supply of money that causes the increase in prices i.e. inflation is a cause rather than an effect.

Webster’s 2000 Definition of Inflation.

However, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright © 2000 Published by Houghton Mifflin Company says:

2) A persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money, caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.

In this definition, inflation would appear to be the consequence or result (rising prices) rather than the cause.

So, there you have it. In less than one generation, the definition of inflation has changed. Is it any wonder now that when the Federal Reserve tells us (and now middle schoolers!) that it is keeping an eye on inflation by watching prices, hardly any of us retail investors question whether this is appropriate. Is it any wonder that hardly any of us retail investors question why the Federal Reserve isn’t looking at its monetary policies and the Federal Government’s fiscal policies for sources of inflation?

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avatar Luke Landes

I think your over-analyzing the Fed’s definition of inflation. Keep in mind the intended audience. They don’t mention (well, they take a sideways angle for) a cause and effect relationship, they’re just describing an observation.

I agree that the Fed should have at least mentioned the money supply’s effect on inflation. Supply and demand would be a good concept for middle schoolers to learn.

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avatar Barb

I took the Kids Quiz and actually got one of those questions wrong. Whoops!

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