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University of California, Berkeley The Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office Slaying the Dragon of Debt: Home Resources Multimedia Interviews News Timeline About Home The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was legislation passed in the wake of the international credit and subprime mortgage crisis that began to make itself known around 2007. The legislation established the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) which was created to purchase 'troubled assets' from institutional investors. The legislation was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2008. More >> The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Stimulus Bill, was one of the first major pieces of legislation passed by the new Democratic Congress in 2009 and signed by newly inaugurated President Barack Obama. The legislation was a Keynesian attempt to lift the United States economy out of a major recession through federal spending. More >> The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 was the second major tax cut legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush. Like the tax cut package passed in 2001, these cuts were scheduled to expire in December 2010. Unlike the previous tax cut legislation, this bill received support from very Democrats; the bill passed in the Senate when Vice President Dick Cheney cast a tie-breaking vote. More >> The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was the first major tax cut legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush. The tax cuts were to be temporary, lasting 9 years before expiring in December 2010. The legislation was carried with Republican votes and those of a handful of Democrats. More >> The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (a spending bill) and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (a tax bill) legislated the elimination of the annual budget deficit by 2002. Both bills were passed by Congress by large bipartisan majorities and signed into law by President Clinton prior to the August 1997 congressional recess. More >> The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, better known as the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993, was President Bill Clintonís first budget. The fiscal year 1994 budget proposed the highest peace-time tax increases (on high income earners) in United States history, cut appropriations spending, and renewed the framework of the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990. More >> The Budget Enforcement Act (1990) created caps for discretionary spending and created 'pay-as-you-go' (PAYGO) rules for taxes and certain entitlement programs. This legislation raised taxes and was signed by President George H.W. Bush despite a campaign pledge that he would not raise taxes. More >> The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987 (Public Law No: 100-119), also known as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings II, revised the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 after in <i>Bowsher v. Synar </i>(1986) the United States Supreme Court ruled portions of that law unconstitutional. More >> The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, better known as 'Gramm-Rudman Hollings,' created a series of deficit targets meant to balance the federal budget by 1991. If these targets were not met, a series of across-the-board spending cuts (sequestration) would automatically ensue. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Senator Warran Rudman (R-NH), and Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) and was signed into law by President Reagan in December 1985. More >> The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (OBRA 1981 or Gramm-Latta II) and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA 1981 or the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut) comprised the first budget of the administration of Ronald Reagan (for FY82). Together the two bills established Reagan's fiscal priorities as tax cuts, reductions in domestic discretionary spending, and increased military spending. OBRA 1981 was passed using the reconciliation process created by the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. More >> The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the associated increases in spending on national security that resulted from the attacks of September 11, 2001, reversed the relative fall in defense expenditures of the 1990s and contributed to the large deficits of the George W. Bush era. More >> During Paul Volcker's tenure as its Chairman (1979-1987) the U.S. Federal Reserve limited the rate of growth in the U.S. money supply and increased short-term interest rates. These policies are widely credited with bringing down inflation and, after a recession in the early 1980s, leading to a prolonged period of economic growth. More >> Richard Nixon's August 1971 decision to suspend the convertibility of dollars into gold was one of the most important chapters in modern economic history. Nixon's move, which was precipitated by rising U.S. balance of payments deficits, ended the system of fixed exchange rates that had been established at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944 and ushered in a regime of floating rates. More >> Between October 1973 and January 1974 world oil prices quadrupled. By putting an end to decades of cheap energy, the 1973-74 oil crisis, which was led by Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exacerbated the economic difficulties facing many industrialized nations, forced developing countries to finance their energy imports through foreign borrowing, and generated large surpluses for oil-exporters. More >> From November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996 the U.S. government was shut down as a result of a budgetary impasse between Congress and the White House. The shutdown was precipitated by a dispute between Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich over domestic spending cuts in the fiscal year 1996 budget and resulted in a bipartisan agreement to balance the budget in seven years' time. More >> Between 2007 and 2009 the U.S. witnessed a series of banking failures that led to a prolonged recession. The financial crisis was the worst since the Great Depression and caused a significant increase in the federal budget deficit. More >> The disintegration of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991 had important consequences for U.S. fiscal policy. The end of the Cold War brought about reductions in defense expenditures that helped close the budgetary shortfalls of the 1980s and contribute to the surpluses of the late 1990s. More >> The 1994 midterm elections saw the Republican Party gain a majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 1954. The 54 seat swing in the House ushered in an era of divided government that persisted for the remainder of the 1990s. More >> The 1992 U.S. presidential election saw Democratic Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton defeat incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot. The election was notable for the presence of three major candidates as well as the centrality of economic issues to the campaign. More >> The recession of the early 1990s lasted from July 1990 to March 1991. It was the largest recession since that of the early 1980s and contributed to George H.W. Bush's re-election defeat in 1992. Although mainly attributable to the workings of the business cycle and restrictive monetary policy, the 1990-91 recession demonstrated the growing importance of financial markets to the American and world economies. More >> Between 1980 and 1982 the U.S. economy experienced a deep recession, the primary cause of which was the disinflationary monetary policy adopted by the Federal Reserve. The recession coincided with U.S. President Ronald Reaganís steep cuts in domestic spending and led to minor political fallout for the Republican Party. A gradual loosening of monetary policy as well as the stimulative effects of tax cuts and defense spending increases promoted a sustained yet uneven recovery. More >> The 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act modified the role of Congress in the federal budgetary process. It created standing budget committees in both the House and the Senate, established the Congressional Budget Office, and moved the beginning of the fiscal year from July 1 to October 1. More >>