Cardiff Garcia

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Today's Planet Money indicator is 4.55 percent. The Federal Reserve said just this afternoon that the American economy is at full employment when the unemployment rate is 4.55 percent.

The Fed updates this estimate every few months. And for years, it's been getting the number wrong.

Today on the show, what is full employment, why is it so hard to pin down, and most importantly, are we there yet?

One of the things we do at the Indicator is steal stuff we like from other podcasts. Today, we're stealing from Tyler Cowen. He's an economist and public intellectual who has his own podcast (of course).

It's an interview show, and in the middle of every episode Tyler does this thing we love: He goes through a list of subjects and asks the guest to say whether each subject is overrated or underrated, and to explain why.

When Republicans launched their tax push this fall, they said, here's the plan: We are going to lower taxes for people and companies. And part of the way we're going to pay for that is by getting rid of loopholes and special deductions and lots of little perks hiding in the tax code.

Today on the show: What happened to that plan, and what it says about the way our tax code works.