The course that I took this term on money and banking was of great value to me. It taught me some very important things. One of the most important things that I learned in this course was that the Federal Reserve is the best resource for information concerning the economy. Another important thing that I learned was that interest rates mean different things to different people. A third very important thing that I learned was how a financial crisis can start in the United States.
There is an abundance of information about our economy on the television newscasts, in the newspapers, and on the Internet. A lot this news is very confusing, particularly when one article contains information that conflicts with another article. This sometimes happens within the same day. One day you may be watching the news and hear that the interest rates and inflation will be rising soon and rapidly, and the next minute you hear the interest rates and prices will remain steadily under control for some time. To complicate things even further, the news is oftentimes clouded with opinions or biases. I have learned in this course that the best way to get an accurate account on issues concerning the economy is to go straight to the source, which is the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve System makes it their business to know where the economy is headed and how monetary policy may affect the economy. Goals of the Federal Reserve System include high employment, economic growth, and the stability of financial markets, foreign exchange markets, prices, and interest rates. That being said, it became obvious to me that the Federal Reserve System is the proper resource for matters concerning the economy. I can access their website anytime to find the latest economic outlook, and I am confident that this is information that I can trust.
Some of the information that I find most valuable is within the press releases of the Federal Open Market Committee. This 12-member committee, which is headed by the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, sets credit and interest rate policies for the Federal Reserve System. There are 8 scheduled meetings of the FOMC throughout the year. There are sometimes unscheduled meetings also held during the course of the year. I have found that reading the press releases of the FOMC can give me a pretty decent understanding of what is going on in the economy. For example, the press release that followed the latest scheduled meeting of the FOMC on April 28, 2010 revealed that our economy is starting to show improvements in the labor markets. It predicted that the economy is likely to continue with a gradual recovery.
It is far better to go to the source, the Federal Reserve, to find out the facts about our economy than to rely on the newscasts. The newscasters are not the experts when it comes to matters of the economy, banking, or finance. I would much rather rely on the Federal Reserve System to tell me that household spending has...