WILMINGTON -- Even during these uncertain economic times the Federal Reserve has not yet said whether we're in a recession. There's certainly no doubt the economy is in crisis, and that's due in large part to problems in the financial sector. Many of the problems there stem from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. Gas and food prices are sky-high and the US dollar is extremely weak against the euro. Economics and finance professor Tom Simpson said, "It's also affecting consumer confidence. People are fearful of what might be happening in terms of their own financial positions, in terms of their employment positions, so that's having an effect on spending." That's the topic of a panel discussion going on right now at UNCW. Three professors from the Cameron School of Business are talking about today's economic climate and what's going to happen in the future. Professor Simpson expects the economy to bottom out within the next few quarters, and then begin to bounce back. The Fed will be sending out economic stimulus checks in May to 130 million households. To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid social security number, $3,000 of income and file a 2007 federal tax return. Eligible people will receive up to $600 dollars, $1,200 for married couples. And parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment.
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