Special Report: The Big Slowdown: Adrift in the Doldrums

Adrift in the Doldrums As the economy weakens, the Federal Reserve will have to steer carefully to avoid a recession

The words sounded like those of a business leader lecturing the U.S. central bank about the dangers of letting the economy slump too far: "It is prudent for the Federal Reserve to recognize the risk that such softness ((in the economy)) conceivably could accumulate and deepen, resulting in a substantial downturn in activity." Yet the statement came from Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who went public with a surprisingly frank assessment last week that, at least for the moment, a recession has replaced inflation as the leading threat to the U.S. economy. In his midyear report to Congress, Greenspan confirmed that since...

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