- NY Times -
It came as no surprise on Tuesday when the Federal Reserve said that the economy was in a more precarious state than it had previously believed. It was refreshing that the Fed stopped blaming “transitory” factors like supply-chain disruptions from Japan and acknowledged, in effect, that this year’s rising joblessness and slowing growth are more than temporary setbacks.
The Fed announced that it expected to keep short-term interest rates at near zero for another two years “at least.” That is a sensible move because it gives markets and businesses a dose of certainty. The stock market, which had plummeted a day earlier, surged to a strong finish. But it’s doubtful that the Fed’s move will be enough to increase employment and growth.
It is particularly disturbing that three members of the Fed’s policy committee view inflation as a bigger threat than a weakening economy and opposed Tuesday’s decision to keep rates low into 2013. Judging from earlier statements, they stand prepared to oppose further measures to boost the faltering economy.
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