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National Standards for 'Where Does the Money Come From'

National Standard Number: 20
FISCAL AND MONETARY POLICY: Students will understand that: Federal government budgetary policy and the Federal Reserve System?s monetary policy influence the overall levels of employment, output, and prices.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Anticipate the impact of federal government and Federal Reserve System macroeconomic policy decisions on themselves and others.

The U.S. federal government's taxation and spending policies, and the Federal Reserve System's monetary policies affect the nation's overall levels of employment, output, and prices. However, many government taxation and spending activities are undertaken for other reasons, as well. Government expenditures for national defense, human services, and other purposes are made to meet specific objectives and not primarily because of their fiscal policy effects. Other important objectives must be merged with the goals of full employment, price stability, and economic growth. Therefore, government programs may have contradictory effects upon employment and inflation. Understanding these effects is complicated also by the time lags that occur before action taken pursuant to a specific policy begins to affect overall levels of employment, output, and prices.

In spite of these difficulties, policy makers and the general public continue to examine and debate the overall stabilization effects of public policy actions, because the consequences are so important. Citizens should understand the role of conflicting objectives and the limitations on the effectiveness of economic stabilization policies in order to develop realistic expectations about what can be accomplished with taxation, spending, and monetary policies.