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Evaluate the Role and the Effectiveness of the Federal Reserve in Stabilizing the Current Economy.

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Evaluate the role and the effectiveness of the Federal Reserve in stabilizing the current economy.

The Federal Reserve was created by the U.S. Congress in 1913. Before that, the U.S. lacked any formal organization for studying and implementing monetary policy. Consequently markets were often unstable and the public had very little faith in the banking system. The Fed is an independent entity, but is subject to oversight from Congress. Basically, this means that decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the government, but Congress periodically reviews the Fed's activities. The Fed is headed by a government agency in Washington known as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The Board of Governors consists of seven presidential appointees, each of whom serves 14 year terms. All members must be confirmed by the Senate and can be reappointed. The board is led by a chairman and a vice chairman, each appointed by the President and approved by the Senate for four-year terms. The current chair is Ben Bernanke, who took over for Alan Greenspan on February 1, 2006. Greenspan had been chairman since 1987. (The Federal Reserve: What is the Fed? , 2012).

Following the stabilization of economic activity in mid-2009, the U.S. economy is now in its seventh quarter of growth; last quarter, for the first time in this expansion, the nation's real gross domestic product (GDP) matched its pre-crisis peak. Nevertheless, job growth remains relatively weak and the unemployment rate is still high. In its early stages, the economic recovery was largely attributable to the stabilization of the financial system, the effects of expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, and a strong boost to production from businesses rebuilding their depleted inventories. Economic growth slowed significantly in the spring and early summer of 2010, as the impetus from inventory building and fiscal stimulus diminished and as Europe's debt problems roiled global financial markets. We have seen increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold. Real consumer spending has grown notably at a solid pace since last fall, and business investment in new equipment and software has continued to expand. Stronger demand, both domestic and foreign, has supported steady gains in U.S. manufacturing output. The combination of rising household and business confidence, accommodative monetary policy, and improving credit conditions seems likely to lead to a somewhat more rapid pace of economic recovery in 2011 than last year. The most recent economic projections by Federal Reserve Board members and Reserve Bank presidents, prepared in conjunction with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in late January, are for real GDP to increase 3-1/2 to 4 percent in 2011, about one-half percentage point higher than our projections made in November. Private forecaster projections for 2011 are broadly consistent with those of the FOMC participants and have also moved up in recent months. (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System , 2011) Some of the most important duties of the Fed are to keep full employment and to maintain a low state of inflation. In order to clearly understand this concept and its purpose, it is also necessary to give a clear definition of the word money. As stated in the Webster dictionary, money is: "A commodity, such as gold, or an officially issued coin or paper note that is legally established as an exchangeable equivalent of all other commodities, such as goods and services, and is used as a measure of their comparative values on the market." Money has three basic functions: a medium of exchange, a measure of value, and a store of value. Goods and services are paid for in money and debts are brought upon and then paid off in money. Another way to evaluate the role and effectiveness of the Federal Reserve will the housing sector that remains exceptionally weak. The foreclosed houses are still weighing heavily on prices of new and existing homes, and sales and construction of new single-family homes remain depressed. Although mortgage rates are low and house prices have reached more affordable levels, many potential homebuyers are still finding mortgages difficult to obtain and remain concerned about possible further declines in home values. Inflation has declined, on balance, since the onset of the financial crisis, reflecting high levels of resource slack and stable longer-term inflation expectations. Indeed, over the 12 months ending in January, prices for all of the goods and services consumed by households (as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE)) increased by only 1.2 percent, down from 2.5 percent in the year-earlier period. Wage growth has slowed as well, with average hourly earnings increasing only 1.9 percent over the year ending in January. In combination with productivity increases, slow wage growth has implied very tight restraint on labor costs per unit of output. Although overall inflation is low, since summer we have seen significant increases in some highly visible prices, including those of gasoline and other commodities. Notably, in the past few weeks, concerns about unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and the possible effects on global oil supplies have led oil and gasoline prices to rise further. More broadly, the increases in commodity prices in recent months have largely reflected rising global demand for raw materials, particularly in some fast-growing emerging market economies, coupled with constraints on global supply in some cases. Commodity prices have risen significantly in terms of all major currencies, suggesting that changes in the foreign exchange value of the dollar are unlikely to have been an important driver of the increases seen in recent months. (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System , 2011).

Determine which economic indications the Federal Reserve should analyze so it can better stabilize the economy

The Gross Domestic Product also known as GDP in my opinion is the economic indicator that the Federal Reserve should analyze in order to better stabilize this particular Economic indicators are the most watched news in the investment world because the economy can be very unpredictable and the Fed also keep an eye on these indicators as it decides what to do with interest rates.

The GDP is the aggregated monetary value of all the goods and services produced by the entire economy during the quarter (with the exception of international activity). The key number to look for is the growth rate of GDP. Generally, the U.S. economy grows at around 2.5-3% per year and deviations from this range can have a significant impact. Growth above this level is often thought to be unsustainable and



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