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July 19, 2018 

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REGRESSIVE TAX: A tax in which people with more income pay a smaller percentage in taxes. A regressive tax is given by this example--You earn $10,000 a year and your boss gets $20,000. You pay $2,000 in taxes (20 percent) while your boss also pays $2,000 in taxes (10 percent). Examples of regressive taxes abound (is this surprising given the political clout of the wealthy?), including sales tax, excise tax, and Social Security tax.

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DISCOUNT RATE: The interest rate that the Federal Reserve System charges for loans to banks. To ensure that our nation's banks retain their liquidity and remain in business, the Federal Reserve System stands ready to lend bank reserves on a moment's notice to any bank. The discount rate is the interest rate the Federal Reserve System charges for these loans. Like any interest rate, when it goes up (or down) it discourages (or encourages) borrowing. In principle, the Fed can use the discount rate to control our nation's money supply.

     See also | Federal Reserve System | bank reserves | interest rate | money supply | fractional-reserve banking | bank panic | open market operations | reserve requirements | monetary policy |


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REQUIRED RESERVES

The reserves (vault cash and Federal Reserve deposits) that banks are required by government to keep to back up deposits. The primary use of required reserves is to process daily checkable deposit transactions. The government regulator in charge of setting reserve requires is the Federal Reserve System. Required reserves are usually in the range of 3 to 10 percent for checkable deposits and substantially less (0 percent) for savings deposits. Any legal reserves held by banks over those required to back deposits, termed excess reserves or free reserves, are available for interest-generating loans.

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