The Federal Reserve could take more steps to boost the struggling U.S. economy. That's according to minutes released Wednesday of the Federal Open Market Committee's July 31-Aug. 1 meeting.
"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," the minutes said. [PDF]
Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.
For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.
MONTAGNE: That's the indicator Fed Chief Ben Bernanke wants to see. Bernanke told a conference of economists last night that despite data pointing to a recovery, many people still feel stressed. He said the economic well-being of Americans is the Fed's ultimate objective - that is, the sense that things are going well.
U.S. employment is stalled, growth is anemic, and the Federal Reserve has decided not to take action for at least another month.
Most economists weren't expecting the Federal Open Markets Committee, which sets the Fed's monetary policy, to announce another round of quantitative easing — a fancy term that basically means the central bank buys bonds to increase the money supply and make borrowing cheaper — at this week's meeting. Still, that's exactly what a number of them think is needed.