The Federal Reserve

Should it continue trying to create more jobs?


The nation's central bank, one of the government's least-understood — and most powerful — institutions, has been playing an ever-larger role in recent years in trying to stimulate economic recovery. The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates low and buying billions of dollars in government bonds in hopes of encouraging banks to lend more money for business expansion, spurring companies to create more jobs. Outgoing Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke views both policies as following the central bank's congressional “dual mandate” to fight inflation and promote employment. But some experts say the jobs mandate only adds confusion because a central bank should focus on price stability. The bond-buying program is even more controversial, with many critics saying Wall Street, not Main Street, is reaping the ...

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