Automatic Stabilizers

The millions of unemployed in 2008–2009 could collect unemployment insurance benefits to replace some of their salaries. Federal fiscal policies include discretionary fiscal policy, when the government passes a new law that explicitly changes tax or spending levels. The 2009 stimulus package is an example. Changes in tax and spending levels can also occur automatically, due to automatic stabilizers, such as unemployment insurance and food stamps, which are programs that are already laws that stimulate aggregate demand in a recession and hold down aggregate demand in a potentially inflationary boom.