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July 20, 2018 

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LOCAL BONDS: Also called municipal bonds, these are medium or long-term financial instruments issued by municipalities to borrow the funds used to build schools, highways, parks and other public projects. An attractive feature of these financial instruments is that are exempt from federal income tax. Commercial banks, corporations, and others with large sums of funds to lend usually purchase these bonds.

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LAFFER CURVE: The graphical inverted-U relation between tax rates and total tax collections by government. Developed by economist Arthur Laffer, the Laffer curve formed a key theoretical foundation for supply-side economics of President Reagan during the 1980s. It is based on the notion that government collects zero revenue if the tax rate is 0% and if the tax rate is 100%. At a 100% tax rate no one has the incentive to work, produce, and earn income, so there is no income to tax. As such, the optimum tax rate, in which government revenue is maximized, lies somewhere between 0% and 100%. This generates a curve shaped like and inverted U, rising from zero to a peak, then falling back to zero. If the economy is operating to the right of the peak, then government revenue can be increased by decreasing the tax rate. This was used to justify supply-side economic policies during the Reagan Administration, especially the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (Kemp-Roth Act).

     See also | taxes | supply-side economics | Kemp-Roth Act | income tax | conservative |


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EXCESS RESERVES

The reserves (vault cash and Federal Reserve deposits) that banks have over and above what they are required by government to keep to back up deposits. The primary use of excess reserves, also termed free reserves, is for loans to consumers and businesses. Because reserves do not generate interest, revenue, or profit, banks are inclined to keep as few excess reserves as possible.

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