Fed readies 'incremental' intervention in economy
The announcement may come as early as today from Fed Chief Bernanke and it's a cinch that Republicans aren't going to like it.
The central bank appears likely to try to push long-term borrowing costs lower by rebalancing its $2.8 trillion portfolio of bond holdings to weight it more heavily to longer-term securities.
Such a move that would fly in the face of Republican objections to Fed activism.
Top GOP congressional leaders wrote to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke this week urging the central bank to desist from further economic interventions, echoing criticism voiced by Republican presidential candidates in recent weeks.
Fed officials, however, believe that by shifting their bond holdings they could encourage mortgage refinancing and push investors into riskier assets, such as corporate bonds and stocks, without stoking a run-up in consumer prices.
Members of the Fed's policy-setting committee are expected to announce their decision at about 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT) at the conclusion of a two-day meeting.
This appears to be better than previous Fed efforts to stimulate the economy in that they will be using the bond portfolio purchased during QE 1 and II to encourage investment rather than buy new paper so that banks would be free to loan out more money.
But who has any faith that it will work better than previous efforts? The Fed's intent never seems to translate into real world action as previous efforts at easing only resulted in banks increasing their reserves rather than lending out more cash. This move appears more psychological than anything else.
And the economy appears to be beyond this sort of stimulus mumbo jumbo.