从最狭隘的意义上讲，政府参与经济是为了帮助纠正市场失灵，或者私人市场无法最大化其为社会创造的价值的情况。这包括提供公共产品，内部化外部性（经济活动对无关第三方的后果）以及加强竞争。话虽如此，许多社会已经接受了政府更广泛地参与资本主义经济。虽然消费者和生产者做出了塑造经济的大部分决策，但政府活动在一些领域对美国经济产生了强大的影响。也许最重要的是，联邦政府指导经济活动的整体步伐，试图保持稳定增长，高就业率和价格稳定。通过调整支出和税率（称为财政政策）或管理货币供应和控制信贷使用（称为货币政策），它可以减缓或加快经济增长率，并在此过程中影响价格和就业水平。在20世纪30年代大萧条之后的许多年里，衰退 – 经济增长缓慢和高失业率的时期通常被定义为国内生产总值（GDP）连续两个季度的下降被视为最大的经济威胁。当经济衰退的危险最严重时，政府试图通过大量消费或减税来加强经济，以便消费者增加消费，并通过促进货币供应的快速增长来促进更多支出。在20世纪70年代，主要的价格上涨，尤其是能源价格上涨，引发了对通货膨胀的强烈担忧，这是整体价格水平的上升。因此，政府领导人更加注重控制通胀，而不是通过限制支出，抵制减税和控制货币供应增长来对抗经济衰退。关于稳定经济的最佳工具的想法在1960年代和1990年代之间发生了巨大变化。在20世纪60年代，政府对财政政策或操纵政府收入以影响经济抱有很大信心。由于支出和税收由总统和国会控制，这些当选官员在指导经济方面发挥了主导作用。高通胀时期，高失业率和巨额政府赤字削弱了人们对财政政策的信心，将其作为调节经济活动总体速度的工具。相反，货币政策 – 通过利率等设备控制国家的货币供应 – 假设越来越多的参与。货币政策由美国中央银行（称为联邦储备委员会）指挥，该中央银行与总统和国会相当独立。 “美联储”创建于1913年，相信对国家货币体系进行集中的，受管制的控制将有助于缓解或防止金融危机，例如1907年的恐慌，这种危机始于企图破坏市场上的股票。联合铜业公司（United Copper Co.）引发了全国范围内的银行提款和金融机构破产。
In the narrowest sense, the government participates in the economy to help correct market failures, or the private market cannot maximize the value it creates for society. This includes providing public goods, internalizing externalities (the consequences of economic activity for unrelated third parties) and enhancing competition. Having said that, many societies have accepted the government’s wider participation in the capitalist economy. While consumers and producers have made most of the decisions that shape the economy, government activities have had a strong impact on the US economy in some areas. Perhaps most importantly, the federal government is guiding the overall pace of economic activity, trying to maintain steady growth, high employment rates and stable prices. By adjusting expenditures and tax rates (called fiscal policies) or managing money supply and controlling credit use (known as monetary policy), it can slow or accelerate economic growth rates and affect prices and employment levels in the process. In the years following the Great Depression of the 1930s, the recession – the period of slow economic growth and high unemployment, is often defined as the decline in gross domestic product (GDP) for two consecutive quarters is considered the biggest economic threat. When the risk of a recession is at its worst, the government is trying to strengthen the economy through massive consumption or tax cuts, so that consumers can increase consumption and promote more spending by promoting rapid growth in the money supply. In the 1970s, major price increases, especially energy price increases, sparked strong concerns about inflation, which is an increase in overall price levels. As a result, government leaders are more focused on controlling inflation, rather than resisting recession by limiting spending, boycotting tax cuts, and controlling money supply growth. The idea of the best tool for stabilizing the economy changed dramatically between the 1960s and the 1990s. In the 1960s, the government had great confidence in fiscal policy or in manipulating government revenues to influence the economy. Since spending and taxes are controlled by the president and the Congress, these elected officials have played a leading role in guiding the economy. During periods of high inflation, high unemployment and huge government deficits weakened confidence in fiscal policy as a tool to regulate the overall speed of economic activity. Instead, monetary policy – controlling the country’s money supply through equipment such as interest rates – assumes more and more participation. Monetary policy is commanded by the US Central Bank (known as the Federal Reserve Board), which is fairly independent of the President and Congress. Founded in 1913, the Fed believes that centralized control of the national monetary system will help to alleviate or prevent financial crises, such as the 1907 panic, which began with attempts to undermine stocks in the market. United Copper Co. triggered bankruptcy and bankruptcy of financial institutions nationwide.