Government & Policy

Governments can have an enormous impact on the economy. Learn how the government affects taxes, trade, markets, interest rates, and more through policy, regulation, and legislation.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does the government control inflation?

    The most common way governments control inflation is by raising or lowering interest rates. Put simply, high interest rates counter inflation by reducing the money supply, and low interest rates promote inflation by increasing the money supply. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve indirectly controls interest rates through the federal funds rate, the interest rate banks charge each other for loans made overnight.

  • What is the difference between communism and socialism?

    Communism and socialism both advocate for a more equitable distribution of wealth than that achieved under capitalism, but they differ in their means and the extremity of their vision. A basic premise of communism is that a communist order is achieved through a revolution in which the working class (proletariat) overthrows the ruling class (bourgeoisie). Socialism insists on working within existing systems to implement reform. Communism also advocates the dissolution of all private property so that all property is owned by the state, which distributes resources evenly between citizens. Under socialism, the means of accumulating wealth (industry and commerce) are collectively-owned and managed by the government, but property like homes and personal possessions can remain privately-owned.

  • How much does the U.S. spend on healthcare?

    According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. healthcare spending is expected to reach $6.2 trillion, or 20% of GDP, by 2028. In 2020, spending per person was $12,530, the highest of any developed country. Norway, which ranked second in terms of healthcare costs, spent $6,748 per person, almost half of U.S. expenditures.

  • What is the difference between monetary policy and fiscal policy?

    Monetary policy refers to the actions taken by a central bank to achieve economic goals like low unemployment and stable prices. Monetary policy is often executed through the increase or decrease of the money supply. Fiscal policy refers to the government’s tax and spending plans. Fiscal policy is administered by the legislative and executive branches of government.

Key Terms

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