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FISCAL POLICY: Use of the federal government's powers of spending and taxation to stabilize the business cycle. If the economy is mired in a recession, then the appropriate fiscal policy is to increase spending or reduce taxes--termed expansionary policy. During periods of high inflation, the opposite actions are needed--contractionary policy. The consequences of fiscal policy are typically observed in terms of the federal deficit.

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FIXED INPUT: An input in the production of goods and services that does not change in the short run. A fixed input should be compared with a variable input, an input that DOES change in the short run. Fixed and variable inputs are most important for the analysis of short-run production by a firm. The best example of a fixed input is the factory, building, equipment, or other capital used in production. The comparable example of a variable input would then be the labor or workers who work in the factory or operate the equipment. In the short run (such as a day or so) a firm can vary the quantity of labor, but the quantity of capital is fixed.

     See also | input | variable input | short-run production | labor | capital | factors of production | total product | average product | marginal product |


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GOVERNMENT CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURES AND GROSS INVESTMENT

The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economics Analysis measuring government purchases undertaken by the government sector. Government consumption expenditures and gross investment averages between 15-20 percent of gross domestic product. As might be expected, this percentage tends to be ebb and flow with the political winds. Some political leaders prefer more government activity, others less. However, this percentage is even more dependent on military conflicts and wars that require massive government activity. The other official expenditures included in the National Income and Product Accounts are personal consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, and net exports of goods and services.

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