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On Tuesday, Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting where many analysts expect they will announce a reduction in the central bank's $85 billion monthly stimulus. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Number Of The Year

Year In Numbers: The Federal Reserve's $85 Billion Question

As 2013 wraps up, NPR is looking at the numbers that tell this year's story. When it comes to the economy, $85 billion is a good candidate. That's the amount the Federal Reserve has been pumping into the financial system each month trying to stimulate growth and bring down unemployment. On Tuesday, Fed policymakers begin a two-day meeting at which they'll decide whether to dial back that stimulus.

Texas Highway 130, a new Austin bypass toll road, is so far east of the city that it sees little traffic. The state recently raised the speed limit there to 85 mph in hopes of boosting its use. Wikipedia hide caption

itoggle caption Wikipedia

U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work

Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle

The Texas capital is growing rapidly, and its roads and freeways are packed. A toll road was built east of the city to help alleviate the problem, but few drivers use it. Experts agree that the city has to do something — and soon — to address its congestion woes if Austin is to retain its quirky character.

Southern California's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, shown here in April 2012, was closed after small radiation leaks. Lenny Ignelzi/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Lenny Ignelzi/AP

Energy

Environmentalists Split Over Need For Nuclear Power

One former anti-nuke activist says the world can't afford to dismiss nuclear power, if we're to rein in global warming. Nuclear plants provide a more reliable energy supply than wind or solar, he says, and without the high carbon emissions that fossil fuels produce.

No True Masterpiece Will Ever Be Complete Kaki King 0:27

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Holding The Severed Self Kaki King 1:33

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Texas Flood Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble 0:21

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Pride and Joy Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble 0:30

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Ghosts Laura Marling 0:03

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The Key Tosca 0:30

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City Lights Ray Price 0:09

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    16 Biggest Hits
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My Shoes Keep Walkin' Back to You Backtrack Professional Karaoke Band 1:30

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [From Meet in St Louis] Frank Sinatra 0:15

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Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Bill Evans, Haven Gillespie, J. Fred Coots 0:57

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El Paso Corey Christiansen 0:11

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Dying Californian Corey Christiansen 1:31

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Concerto, No6, B fl, Op4 - Allegro Moderato CBC Vancouver Orchestra 0:19

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Concerto, No6, B fl, Op4 - Andante-Allegro CBC Vancouver Orchestra 0:29

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Blank Pages The Album Leaf 0:03

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Always For You The Album Leaf 0:31

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Horses Lang Lang 0:02

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Jianmin: A Night on the Lake Beneath the Maple Bridge (fengqiao ye po) Lang Lang 1:40

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Love's Message Vladimir Horowitz 0:56

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Piano Sonata No. 3 in F sharp minor ("Etats d'âme"), Op. 23 Vladimir Horowitz 0:56

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