Fiscal policy is the means by which a government adjusts its spending levels and tax rates to monitor and influence a nation's economy. It is the sister strategy to monetary policy through which a central bank influences a nation's money supply.
How does it work
Fiscal policy is based on the theories of British economist John Maynard Keynes. Also known as Keynesian economics, this theory basically states that governments can influence macroeconomic productivity levels by increasing or decreasing tax levels and public spending. This influence, in turn, curbs inflation (generally considered to be healthy when between 2-3%), increases employment and maintains a healthy value of money. Fiscal policy is very important to the economy. For example, in 2012 many worried that the fiscal cliff, a simultaneous increase in tax rates and cuts in government spending set to occur in January 2013, would send the U.S. economy back to recession. The U.S. Congress avoided this problem by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on Jan. 1, 2013.