The Fed is almost sure to leave the federal funds rate alone today, mostly because, at about 0%, it literally can’t go any lower. So with deflation still looming, what’s Ben Bernanke to do? One Goldman Sachs analyst says the Fed needs to shave the equivalent of 8 more points off the target rate by 2010. Since Bernanke can’t cut, the analyst suggests a shopping spree, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Buying private-sector assets is one way to pump cash into the system. But to have that 8-point impact, the Fed would have to spend a whopping $10 trillion—a prospect unlikely to fly in Washington. Walking the knife's edge between inflation and deflation, Bernanke will probably do the next best thing: cross his fingers, and pray he’s already done enough.