Fiscal Policy: Can We Control the Economy?

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In 1954 relying on "automatic stabilizers," President Dwight Eisenhower withheld raising taxes in order to encourage consumer spending. In the 1960s, newly elected John F. Kennedy and economic advisor Walter Heller pushed Congress to approve a $12 billion tax cut stimulus. The Employment Act of 1946 was the first time that government tried to employ fiscal policy. But, by 2010 economists disagreed about whether fiscal policy was dead, as they argued over the success or failure of President Obama’s stimulus plan. These stories are all examples of how government attempts to fine-tune tax and spending policies to reduce the severity of business-cycle fluctuations.

Find additional resources, including primary source materials, interactives, and downloadable print materials, at: http://www.learner.org/series/econusa/unit18/

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00:28