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What Is The Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve announced, In June 2015, that it would not be raising interest rates because the US economy couldn’t handle the change.

 

The Federal Reserve announced, In June 2015, that it would not be raising interest rates because the US economy couldn’t handle the change. They also lowered their expectations for the coming year in terms of economic growth.

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But, what does any of that mean? What is the Federal Reserve, and how does it affect the economy? Okay, so the Federal Reserve, or “The Fed” is the US central bank. This means that it oversees all American banks, and it is the only ones permitted to issue US currency. Essentially, the Federal Reserve regulates the American economy, and that means they wield a lot of power and responsibility. One of their most significant roles is changing interest rates to keep the US economy in check. It works like this: The Fed is what lends money to all US banks at a certain interest rate. Whatever interest rate they charge is going to correspond with the interest rate your bank charges you.

When interest rates are low, people borrow more and spend more. This stimulates the economy. When the 2007 financial crash occurred, the Fed dropped rates to nearly zero in the hopes that it would encourage people to spend. On the other hand, when the economy is strong, people spend more, causing inflation. If the rate of inflation gets too high, then prices skyrocket, and the economy crashes. So when things are going a little too well, the Fed raises interest rates to keep everything on track. It is by raising and lowering interest rates that the Fed tries to balance America’s financial situation.

A little history if the Federal Reserve, The Fed

The Fed was originally created in 1913 as a response to the Panic of 1907. At the time, private banks across the country were running out of money. In order to stop the market from crashing, banker J.P Morgan took control of the banking industry and got stronger banks to help out failing banks. Basically, the Fed was created to similarly regulate and direct banks, and to be able to inject money into the economy when necessary. But with so much responsibility, the Fed has been pointed to as a major factor in both the 1933 Great Depression and the 2007 recession.

In terms of the recent housing bubble, they were blamed for keeping interest rates low after a minor 2001 recession. This led to low-interest borrowing across the country and was one of the reasons people borrowed money for houses they couldn’t afford. The Fed is also directly responsible for a period of extreme inflation and high unemployment during the 1970s, caused by the overprinting of money. They’ve also been criticized for a lack of transparency in their operations. The Federal Reserve has been a common topic of contention for politicians and those unhappy with the current US economy. Whether or not it should be government-controlled, or even exist at all are difficult questions to answer.

At the very least, it’s important to consider the relevant effect they have on keeping America’s economy at a steady rate of growth. With such a high amount of debt to itself, banks, and foreign countries… can the US still call itself a wealthy nation?

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