To Ease or Not to Ease

It's not really the question. The Fed should go beyond bond buying to goose growth

Illustration by Harry Campbell for TIME

Investors parse federal reserve meeting notes the way believers in Kabbalah parse ancient texts. If Ben Bernanke says might rather than may regarding a particular policy action, markets react. The import of his words, perceived and real, has grown in tandem with political dysfunction in Washington, since Bernanke--along with his Continental counterpart Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank--are the last men standing between the West and economic stagnation. Politicians can't or won't act to stimulate the economy. Only central bankers can save us.

But can they really? Does the Fed actually have any more useful tools in its kit...

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