The Fed Fights Back

Illustration for TIME by Paul Blow

Central banks are supposed to "lean against the wind." Monetary policymakers increase overnight interest rates when strong growth is threatening to push up inflation, and they reduce rates when economies begin to slide into recession and deflation. But what to do when the wind is a cyclone? That is the question confronting the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and their counterparts as the financial storm spawned by U.S. subprime mortgages continues to wreak havoc across credit markets. The resulting higher borrowing rates and tighter credit standards threaten to pull the U.S. economy into...

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