To what extent should the federal government be involved in economic issues?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is one of those questions that is always laden with political overtones, but the fact is that the federal government is constitutionally mandated to be "involved" in economic issues.  If it were not involved, it would not be fulfilling its constitutional duties. We can look at a few examples of this.

First, in Article I, Section 8, Congress is given the power to tax, and the responsibility to pay debt, pay for a military, and to provide for the "general welfare" of the United States. These are economic functions.  It is up to Congress to determine what is borrowed and how to pay it back.  Even the military is an economic function.  How much money is spent or borrowed to provide military forces has major economic consequences, in employment and manufacturing, just to name two.   And while the United States went for a very long time without a federal income tax, in 1913, when the 16th Amendment was passed, this was the beginning of a deeper involvement in economics, since tax...

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