The Federal Reserve, America's central bank, plays an important role in protecting and stabilizing the U.S. economy by controlling inflation, limiting unemployment and regulating financial institutions. In response to the business shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fed undertook a host of aggressive actions to stimulate the economy, including reducing its benchmark interest rate to near zero, establishing massive emergency lending programs and buying large amounts of bonds and other assets. But the economy has revived this year and prices are rising as consumers begin spending again and businesses expand. The Fed now faces questions about whether it has waited too long to control inflation by pulling back on its stimulus measures. Critics have also challenged the Fed's recent foray into social justice and ...

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