People like to talk a lot about "the free market," but the truth is that, even in the United States, the government influences the economy in many profound ways. But is that a good thing? And if we accept some government role in the economy, what exactly should that role be? These issues (along with others, like international trade) are the economic bird's-eye view, or macroeconomics.
Recession and inflation are the two great large-scale threats to economic prosperity, and since the Great Depression of the 1930s and the brutal inflation of the 1970s, the government has sought to ensure that neither would happen again. What tools of economic policy - fiscal and monetary policy - can be used to fight these economic crises? And what are the unintended consequences of those policies?
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The situation:Great news! You were elected President of the United States. The not-so-great news, you've inherited a deep recession with sky-high unemployment. (Sound familiar?) Turn things around pronto or your hopes for a second term are shot.
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