Read the following selections from the Margin Notes by clicking on each
Watch these presentations. When you click on one of the links below,
a new screen will pop up. Use the scrollbar on the side of the new screen to
You need Adobe Reader to view PDF files.
(Optional) Read the following chapters from the textbook.
Chapters 08 - 10
The following Optional Links will help you
do better in your course but they are not required.
Critical Thinking Essay (20 points)
A critical thinking essay isn't difficult
to write but it is a very structured piece of writing so itís important that
you read and follow the steps below in order.
What is Critical Thinking? before you do any work on your
essay. We cannot take the time to fully explore what is meant by critical
thinking. You do, however, need to have some general idea what critical
thinking means in order to write a good critical thinking essay.
What is a Critical Thinking Essay? before you go any farther.
A critical thinking essay is very similar to an exploratory essay --
a type of writing with which you may be familiar. It has a specific
focus and a specific structure. Donít try to wing this assignment!
Look at your topic carefully and make sure
you understand it. Try rewriting it using your own words but keeping
the meaning the same
Federal Reserve System is the most important regulatory agency in our entire
economy and is considered the countryís monetary authority. The Fed's major
role is to regulate the supply of money in the economy. Many politicians would
love to have some say in monetary policy, especially just before elections.
They would at that time love interest rates to fall, enabling more workers to
find jobs. Happy workers vote for incumbents.
Congress created the Fed in an attempt to remove
exactly that kind of political manipulation from monetary policy. Because of
that, the Fed has a large measure of political independence. The central banks
of other countries generally have less independence than the US Fed. The Board
of Governors, appointed by the US president and confirmed by the US Senate,
serve 14-year terms. In addition, the Federal Open Market Committee includes
representatives of private banks in the Federal Reserve System. As a result,
the Fed can take actions that cancel out fiscal policy decisions made by Congress.
The Chair of the Federal Reserve is described by some as the most influential
individual no one knows Ö He affects the economy through his influence on monetary
policy but he is not elected and does not have to answer to anyone.
Is the level of independence given to the Fed truly a good thing or
should the Fed be regulated
by someone Ė Congress, the President or etc?
The current state of the US
economy will affect your thinking about this question whether you
realize it or not. Keep in mind, though, that the economy and the
labor market weren't and won't always be bad. As you formulate your
opinion on this question, take a long-range view of the economy
... sometimes it will be bad and sometimes it will be good. Don't
base your opinion on any particular state of the economy.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question
posed by your topic and I'm not as interested in your answer as I am in your
rationale. For example, go back to an example I used earlier. You start out
in favor of the death penalty because you believe it has a deterrent effect
but all of the research shows there is no deterrent effect. If you end
your essay still in favor of the death penalty, that's okay. If you end your
essay still in favor of the death penalty because it has a deterrent effect,
that's not okay since your rationale is not consistent with factual information.
Look at the information and research
about your topic in the margin notes and power point presentations
from your course and in the links below. Use the information from these
sources to write your essay. However, do NOT use any direct quotes,
citations or references from these sources. The
essay is too short for direct quotes ... use your own words. As for
references, I've given you the sources so I'll know where the information
came from. (I've tried to give you a wide range of sources and opinions
in the reference list below. Inclusion on the list does not constitute
an endorsement of either the sources or the opinions.)
US Monetary Policy: How is the Fed Structured?
Testimony -- Kohn, Federal Reserve Independence
Speech, Meyer -- The Politics of Monetary Policy
Federal Reserve Independence and Democracy
Fedís Alvarez Defends Federal Reserve
Don't Fight The Fed, Please -- Forbes
Central Bank Independence and Disinflationary Credibility (full text is
SSRN -- Central Bank Independence and Transparency (full text is PDF)
The Bank for International Settlements
Central Bank Independence and Monetary Policymaking Institutions
Keeping Politics Out of the Fed
The Fed in a Corner
Federal Reserve Independence
Federal Reserve Independence Under Threat
Why the Federal Reserve Bank Must Maintain Its Independence
Central Bank Independence Under Threat | The Economist
Central Bank Independence Challenged - WSJ
Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance
Central Bank Independence: Failures, Successes
Central Bank Independence Promotes Budgetary Efficiency (full text is PDF)
Choosing the Federal Reserve Chair: Lessons from History (PDF)
Why is it important to separate Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions from
Is the Federal Reserve accountable to anyone?
What does it mean that the Federal Reserve is "independent within the government"?
The Fed: Far from Independent
free Adobe PDF reader
Online Databases -- Some of the links above may
take you to an article's abstract rather than the complete article. If you want
to see the entire article but the site requires registration and/or payment,
try your college library's online database. Almost all articles can be accessed
through a database ... that's why colleges purchase databases for student use.
Call your college librarian and ask for your username and password and for directions.
I do not expect you to use additional sources of
information on your topic. If you do, you MUST cite and reference any additional
sources using one of the following formats.
APA (American Psychological Association)
- regularly used by most social scientists
APSA (American Political Science
Association) - used (in conjunction with APA) by political science publications
MLA (Modern Language Association)
- not generally used by social scientists but if you are a humanities
major you may be more familiar with this format
CMS (Chicago Manual of Style)
Turabian - a variation of the CMS
You can find style sheets and/or links for each
of these styles on the
Writing page, the link for which is at the top of
Online Courses page.
You may use any font and line spacing you
wish when formatting your essay but the content of your
essay must be a minimum of 750 words. You must also adequately
cover your topic, though, and you may find it difficult to completely
cover your topic in 750 words unless you are extremely concise. If you
feel you need more length to cover your topic, you are welcome to write
a longer essay. However, you are only required to write an essay the
content of which is 750 (not 749) words in length. If the content (that
does not include your name, type of assignment, citations, etc ... only
the content of the paper itself) is not at least 750 words in length
I will return your paper to you unread.
Your critical thinking essay should follow a specific outline. Before you begin
the writing phase of your essay, read
What Makes A Paper Good? and
Critical Thinking Essay Format. The outline given in the second link
is the one you need to follow in your essay. Too, take your time proofing your
essay for spelling and grammar mistakes. If spelling and grammar are not among
your talents, ask a friend who is good with spelling and grammar to proof your
essay. ďAĒ papers do not have spelling and grammar mistakes!
Under the Optional Links section at the
top of this page, I have posted a link to my grading rubric for the critical