What are the different ways that the government intervenes in the economy? Why is government intervention so controversial in the United States? In this course students will learn how an economy functions at the macroeconomic level while also learning about the structure of the U.S. government and the way that the political process shapes economic policies. Our goal is to study the national economy in a way that situates basic economic insights in a political and historical context in order to fully understand the legislative and institutional environment in which policy decisions are made; and existing programs, policies, and outcomes, such as the Social Security Program, state and federal welfare programs, , the Federal Reserve's policies , and the $1.1 trillion budget deficit. The course combines conceptual and quantitative approaches to its subject matter. Readings may include David Wessel, Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget; Benjamin Bernanke, The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis; and The US Constitution.