created by Glenn Tamashiro

Hello and welcome. This site was developed to keep you informed about the various lessons and activities that are held in our Government/Economics and Honors Government/AP Macroeconomics classes.

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HGov: Bureaucratic Accountability

Bureaucratic Accountability

The major checks on the bureaucracy occur through the president, Congress, and the courts. The president has some power to reorganize the bureaucracy and the authority to appoint the political head of each agency. The president also has management tools, such as the executive budget, that can be used to limit administrators’ discretion. Congress has influence on bureaucratic agencies through its authorization and funding powers and through various devices including enabling provisions, sunset provisions, and oversight hearings that can increase administrators’ accountability. The judiciary’s role in ensuring the bureaucracy’s accountability is smaller than that of the elected branches, but the courts have the authority to force agencies to act in accordance with legislative intent, established procedures, and constitutionally guaranteed rights. The Senior Executive Service, administrative law judges, whistleblowing, and demographic representativeness are internal mechanisms for holding the bureaucracy accountable.

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Econ: Economic Indicators Puzzle

economy_puzzleStudents will analyze three historical case studies about the economies of different countries during the 1990s and 2000s. Each pair will be given a set of puzzle pieces consisting of primary source photographs and graphs of key economic indicators. Pairs will examine and match their puzzle pieces for each of the three economies. They will then use the information in the puzzle pieces to evaluate the health of these economies. Each pair will cut the pieces from all three pages of the handout. Then they will be given time to match all the pieces.

After reading the text describing the economy, students will select which GDP table, unemployment rate graph, and inflation rate graph matches the description.

Questions
Based on the data and photographs related to key economic indicators, which of these economies—A, B, or C—do you believe was the healthiest and why? The least healthy and why?

Are any of the three key economic indicators better than the others at measuring the health of an economy? Explain.

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Parent Teacher Conference next week

Parent_Teacher_Conferences-mext week

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HGov: Mock General Election

Election Results     For this activity, students represent states and are no longer members of a particular party. Therefore, they can choose a candidate from either party based on their own beliefs about the campaign issues and which candidates would be better for the offices of president and vice president.

During the campaigning session, the presidential and vice presidential nominees and their campaigners will crisscross the nation to meet voters. Candidate teams should consider and discuss this question. Which states should we focus on in our campaign, and why? Candidate teams will have 15 minutes for this campaign session. Presidential and vice presidential nominees can visit as many states as they want, together or separately, to encourage those states to vote for them. When a nominee makes a campaign stop, he or she can talk to multiple states in the area. No state can stop a nominee as he or she is traveling. A nominee is free to visit the states he or she chooses and may visit some states more than once or not at all.

At the end of the campaign session, students voted one candidate for the office of president and vice president. The percentage of the vote that each presidential/vice presidential candidate received was quickly calculate and the outcome of the popular vote was revealed to the class. The candidate students voted for in the popular vote happens to be the candidate who received the majority of votes in the state they represented. Therefore, that candidate will receive all the electoral votes from that state. Their electoral votes was tallied them and the candidate receiving the majority of electoral votes was announced as the winner.

Misc-05-june

Electoral-College-vs-Popular-Vote

Popular Vote
Pat Donnellson (D) - 61.1%
Casey McMahan (R) – 38.9%

Electoral College
Pat Donnellson (D) – 181 electoral votes
Casey McMahan (R) – 178 electoral votes

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Econ: Monetary Policy

Monetary Tools     The Fed has a number of monetary tools available to change the money supply and interest rates to affect real output, employment, and price levels.

Open market operations are the most frequently used tool of monetary policy because of their flexibility and immediate effects. Open market operations are the Fed’s purchases and sales of government bonds with member banks and the public. When the Fed buys bonds from a bank, it creates reserves in the bank’s deposit with the Fed, which the bank can then lend to customers. When the Fed buys bonds from the public, it puts a check in the hand of the consumer, who can deposit the funds in his bank. The two transactions are slightly different in effect, because the bank can loan the full excess reserves resulting from its sale of bonds to the Fed, but the bank must keep the required reserves from the customer’s deposit, leading to a smaller increase in the money supply. In either case, the Fed increases the money supply when it buys bonds, and it reduces the money supply when it sells bonds.

The reserve requirement is the most powerful tool of monetary policy, so it is only rarely used. A change in the percentage of deposits the banks must hold in reserve directly impacts the bank’s ability to increase loans and, therefore, the money multiplier. If the Fed increases the reserve requirement, banks cannot loan as much and the money supply falls. A reduction in the reserve requirement increases the potential growth of the money supply.

A third important tool of monetary policy is the discount rate, which is the interest rate the Fed charges member banks for loans. A reduction in the discount rate encourages banks to borrow from the Fed and, in turn, increase loans to their customers. As a result, the money supply increases. An increase in the discount rate discourages banks from borrowing from the Fed, reducing loans and the money supply.

monetary_policy_expansionary

The Fed uses expansionary monetary policy or easy money policy to expand the money supply during recessions. A decrease in the reserve requirement, a lower discount rate, or the Fed’s purchase of securities can achieve this result. As the money supply grows and interest rates fall. The increase in demand results in an increase in real GDP, employment, and price levels.

monetary_policy_contractionary

Contractionary or tight money policy is used to reduce the money supply during periods of significant inflation. An increase in the reserve requirement, an increase in the discount rate, or the Fed’s sale of securities will reduce the money supply, increasing interest rates. As a result, real output will fall back to full-employment output and employment will fall. Because of the ratchet effect, however, prices are unlikely to decline.

Monetary policy holds advantages over fiscal policy in that monetary policy is very flexible and can be implemented quickly. Its policymakers are shielded from political pressure, allowing them to focus solely on what is good for short-run stabilization and long-run growth of the economy. But monetary policy also faces limitations on its effectiveness. It takes some length of time to recognize economic instability and to fully implement the monetary policies. But more importantly, while monetary policy works well to discourage borrowing during periods of inflation, it is not as effective in promoting investment during severe recessions. Firms consider return on investment as the benefit of investing, and when they have excess capacity as a result of lower consumer demand, they have little reason to invest even when interest rates are low. Banks may hesitate to make loans to firms that may close or households that may fall into foreclosure or bankruptcy, fearing the loans may not be repaid.

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HGov: Federal Reserve

 

federalreserve_building     Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 as the central banking organization in the United States. The Federal Reserve, or the Fed, is made up of a Board of Governors assisted by the Federal Open Market Committee and 12 Federal Reserve district banks. The Fed is responsible for monetary policy in the United States. The Fed has other responsibilities as well. These include maintaining the money supply and the payments system, regulating and supervising banks, preparing consumer legislation, and serving as the federal government’s bank. The Fed’s goal is to promote economic growth and employment without causing inflation. To do this, the Fed may implement loose or tight money policy. Loose money policy makes credit inexpensive, possibly leading to inflation. Tight monetary policy makes credit more expensive and slows the economy. Monetary policy involves changing the rate of growth of the supply of money in circulation in order to affect the amount of credit which in turn affects business activity in the economy. The Fed uses three main tools to regulate the money supply: changing reserve requirements for banks, changing short-term interest rates such as the federal funds rate and the discount rate, and buying and selling government securities in open-market operations. No matter what tool of monetary policy the Fed uses, the effects are not felt immediately.

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Econ: Fiscal Policy

Fiscal Policy     Fiscal policy is carried out by the government. The goals of fiscal policy is to achieve or maintain full employment, to achieve or maintain a high rate of economic growth, and to stabilize prices and wages. The two main instruments of discretionary fiscal policy are government expenditures and taxes. The government collects taxes in order to finance expenditures on a number of public goods and services such as highways and national defense. Expansionary fiscal policy used to combat a recession is defined as an increase in government expenditures, a decrease in taxes, or both increase in government expenditures and decrease in taxes, that causes the government’s budget deficit to increase and its budget surplus to decrease. Contractionary fiscal policy used to combat inflation is defined as a decrease in government expenditures, an increase in taxes, or a decrease in government expenditures and an increase in taxes, which causes the government’s budget deficit to decrease and its budget surplus to increase.

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