The prevailing monetary policies of the Fed determine whether money is easy or tight, that is, whether the monetization of government debt will be sufficient to provide private borrowers with the amounts of money needed to pay what they owe to the banks, or whether it will fall short. These actions by the Fed are largely responsible for the business cycle and periodic rounds of inflation and recession. Through the various mechanisms under its control—interest rates on loans it makes to banks, purchase or sale of government securities, and setting bank reserve requirements—the Fed has the power to decide whose interests will be favored and whose will be harmed.
Source: Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender
Contributed by: peter