All about Fiscal Policy
By using a mix of monetary and fiscal policies (depending on the political orientations and the philosophies of those in power at a particular time, one policy may dominate over another), governments are able to control economic phenomena.
How does it work?
Fiscal policy is based on the theories of British economist John Maynard Keynes. Also known as Keynesian economics, this theory basically states that governments can influence macroeconomic productivity levels by increasing or decreasing tax levels and public spending. This influence, in turn, curbs inflation (generally considered to be healthy when between 2-3%), increases employment and maintains a healthy value of money. Fiscal policy is very important to the economy.
The idea, however, is to find a balance between changing tax rates and public spending. For example, stimulating a stagnant economy by increasing spending or lowering taxes runs the risk of causing inflation to rise. This is because an increase in the amount of money in the economy, followed by an increase in consumer demand, can result in a decrease in the value of money – meaning that it would take more money to buy something that has not changed in value.
With more money in the economy and fewer taxes to pay, consumer demand for goods and services increases. This, in turn, rekindles businesses and turns the cycle around from stagnant to active.
Who Does Fiscal Policy Affect?
Unfortunately, the effects of any fiscal policy are not the same for everyone. Depending on the political orientations and goals of the policymakers, a tax cut could affect only the middle class, which is typically the largest economic group. In times of economic decline and rising taxation, it is this same group that may have to pay more taxes than the wealthier upper class.
Similarly, when a government decides to adjust its spending, its policy may affect only a specific group of people. A decision to build a new bridge, for example, will give work and more income to hundreds of construction workers. A decision to spend money on building a new space shuttle, on the other hand, benefits only a small, specialized pool of experts, which would not do much to increase aggregate employment levels.
One of the biggest obstacles facing policymakers is deciding how much involvement the government should have in the economy. Indeed, there have been various degrees of interference by the government over the years. But for the most part, it is accepted that a degree of government involvement is necessary to sustain a vibrant economy, on which the economic well-being of the population depends.
All about Fiscal Policy
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