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American financial history: Why we are where we are

These presidents played key roles in shaping the U.S. economy.

1.       George Washington

·         Signed the bill to create the First Bank of the United States, which assumed the Revolutionary War debt.

2.       James Madison

·         Created the Second Bank of the United States to help the U.S. recover from debts from the War of 1812.

3.       Benjamin Harrison

·         Authorized the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prevented companies from monopolizing a market.

4.       Woodrow Wilson

·         Signed into being the Federal Reserve system, which is still the sole government-authorized supplier of U.S. currency.

5.       Herbert Hoover

·         Allowed for the increase of tariffs on imported goods, resulting in a greater export of goods than import.

6.       Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

·         Signed into creation the New Deal program, creating 8.5 million jobs during the Great Depression. Also created the Social Security Act, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (minimum wage), and Federal Crop Insurance Corp.

7.       Lyndon B. Johnson

·         Passed the new Social Security Act of 1965, creating Medicare and Medicaid.

8.       Richard Nixon

·         Ended the gold standard in 1971, allowing the Federal Reserve to print more money without gold suppressing that limit.

9.       George W. Bush

·         Signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, bailing out financial firms. These firms now hold 77 percent of the industry’s domestic assets.

Test time!

Take this pop quiz to see how much you know about our nation’s money history.

Are rich people tacky?

For a nation of people who once clamored and overextended themselves to look the prestigious part, those who aren’t really rich aren’t trying to keep up any longer. Frugality is fashionable again.
So where does that leave the public perception of the rich? Post-crash, citizens moved from envying and emulating the wealthy and their status symbols to chiding them for being out-of-touch and self-centered.
In response, many of the wealthy reigned in their spending, embarrassed by public sentiment that it was injudicious to drop money on extravagant parties and exclusive clubs.
But did the fiscal restraint by those who could afford to spend hurt those who work in the clubs, retail outlets, car dealerships and building industry even more? Did it hurt charities, who reported a drop in donations since the recession?
The recession provided important lessons for those who recklessly spent beyond their means, but maybe those who can write the checks should be encouraged to continue to spend.
Do you think the rich should flaunt it if they’ve got it? Or is that in bad taste?

Are rich people tacky?

For a nation of people who once clamored and overextended themselves to look the prestigious part, those who aren’t really rich aren’t trying to keep up any longer. Frugality is fashionable again.

So where does that leave the public perception of the rich? Post-crash, citizens moved from envying and emulating the wealthy and their status symbols to chiding them for being out-of-touch and self-centered.

In response, many of the wealthy reigned in their spending, embarrassed by public sentiment that it was injudicious to drop money on extravagant parties and exclusive clubs.

But did the fiscal restraint by those who could afford to spend hurt those who work in the clubs, retail outlets, car dealerships and building industry even more? Did it hurt charities, who reported a drop in donations since the recession?

The recession provided important lessons for those who recklessly spent beyond their means, but maybe those who can write the checks should be encouraged to continue to spend.

Do you think the rich should flaunt it if they’ve got it? Or is that in bad taste?