Squeezing Seniors: Social Security Stays Flat as Prices Rise

Besides the unemployed, nobody is getting hurt worse in this economy than seniors. Prices on many commodities are skyrocketing, but the Consumer Price Index, which is the yardstick used to adjust Social Security for inflation, is virtually unchanged.

Stocks Close Mixed on Earnings and Economy

Stocks closed mixed Friday as Google's strong quarterly earnings lifted technology stocks but mounting concern over the foreclosure crisis and a revenue miss from General Electric weighed on financials and the broader market.

Mild Producer Price Hikes Ease Deflation Concerns

Producer prices rose a higher-than-expected 0.4% in September, but the core rate rose just 0.1%, the Labor Department said. The price increases point to a low-inflation environment, easing concerns that the world%u2019s largest economy will lapse into a dangerous deflationary spiral.

Fed's Hoenig Warns Against Further Monetary Action

Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig broke ranks with some of his fellow regional Federal Reserve executives Tuesday, warning against further monetary action as a way to spur economic activity.

An Anxious Fed: Economy Needs More Time

The minutes of the Fed Open Market Committee's Sept. 20-21 meeting show a second round of quantitative easing may be needed "before long," but the bankers delayed any moves to collect more data and figure how to best to communicate the policy.

Safe Haven No More: Swiss Franc Headed for Trouble

The Swiss franc has been the second-best performing major currency over the past six months, outpacing the dollar by 8.9% and the euro by 7.8%, thanks to shaky conditions elsewhere in Europe. But a broad range of signs suggest the Swiss currency is due for at least a short-term correction.

What Will the Fed Do With So-So Results?

The recent stream of modestly positive economic reports means the Fed probably won't take any further action to stimulate the economy at its meeting on Tuesday. But nobody is calling the economy healthy yet, and the debate over what the Fed should do next has the FOMC deeply divided.

George Soros: No Doubt About a Slowdown

A widespread push for fiscal discipline is "the right policy at the wrong time," said famed investor George Soros at a Wednesday morning Q&A. He fears it will further depress a world economy already suffering from the blahs.

Fed Minutes Confirm Intense Debate Over Recovery

At its August meeting, the Fed agreed to maintain the current monetary policy, but the decision was hardly universal. Some members said the recovery was on track and expressed concern that the decision to reinvest Treasury proceeds would send the wrong signal.

Risky Business: No Easy Policy Options Left for the Fed

As he addresses the nation%u2019s weak economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn%u2019t just face the traditional risks of rising inflation or an economic stall, but a polarized, caustic political climate that will make creative solutions even harder to propose, let alone implement.

Despite Pressure, the Fed Is Low on Options

Home sales are way down, unemployment is still high, and investors are waiting for the Federal Reserve to take action. But while passions run high about what the Fed should do next, its ability to move the needle on GDP growth or unemployment may be more limited than most assume.

Don't Blame the Economy on the Uncertainty

The government today is often blamed for causing economic uncertainty, which some point to as the source of all the economy's woes. But there's a deeper issue in play than the fact that we have to guess what's coming next: The problem is the bias in our guesses.

Beige Book Report: Economy Has Slowed Down

The latest Beige Book report from the U.S. Federal Reserve confirms what other recent economic reports have suggested: The U.S. economic recovery slowed somewhat in the second quarter, with some regions reporting stalled conditions.

Figuring Out the Fed: What Will Bernanke Do?

In his latest Capitol Hill testimony, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economic outlook is "unusually uncertain," and was opaque about his plans. But don't confuse that with an unwillingness to act. Here's a look a what the Fed's likely options are:

Leading Economic Index Dips Again as Recovery Ebbs

June%u2019s 0.2% dip in the Leading Economic Index provided more evidence that the U.S. economic recovery has slowed, and that the slowdown will continue into autumn -- something that will complicate policymakers' task of lowering the nation's high unemployment rate.

Fed: Outlook 'Unusually Uncertain'

In testimony on Capitol Hill, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the central bank is ready to act in an economy that is "unusually uncertain." Bernanke's comments seem to have spooked the markets, which dropped precipitously as he spoke before reversing course.

Inflation Is Quiet. Is Deflation the Main Threat Now?

The producer price index fell 0.5% in June, but the core index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1%. That's about as low an inflation rate the Federal Reserve wants to see -- anything lower would amount to deflation: a destructive decline in prices that could sink the economic recovery.

The Fed Sees a Slower Economic Recovery

The minutes from its June meeting raise some warning flags about growth and unemployment. Still, the Fed's latest forecasts are just slightly more pessimistic, and it has ruled out taking any further stimulus actions -- at least for now.

European Central Bank Keeps Rates Low

It may be because of the slowing European economy, the drive for austerity by the continent's national governments, or planned tax increases. But whatever the reasons, the European Central Bank said Thursday it would hold its benchmark interest rate steady at 1%.

GDP Growth Unexpectedly Revised Down to 2.7%

The U.S. economy grew at a revised 2.7% annual rate in the first quarter, less than the previously estimated 3% rate. The weaker growth performance will likely intensify the debate about the recovery%u2019s status.

The Fed Remains on the Lookout for Deflation

Most investors know that large budget deficits can lead to an increase in inflation. However, given the current price trend, to remove fiscal, or monetary, stimulus now would be precisely the wrong policy to follow: deflation, not inflation, remains the bigger threat to the economy.

Mild Optimism From Fed About Our Uneven Recovery

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said in a speech Tuesday that the pace of the economic recovery has picked up. According to Bloomberg, he indicated that the Fed's "extended term" of keeping interest rates low may end sooner than many analysts expect.

Bernanke on the Financial Crisis: Interventions Prevented Cataclysm

In a speech that received scant attention, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was unambiguous about the effect of central bank and government interventions during the financial crisis: Those actions prevented an economic meltdown that would have rivaled the Great Depression -- or been worse.

Fed Sees Moderate Growth, Maintains Current Stance

The Federal Reserve sees moderate growth in the U.S. economy, but little progress in job creation. As a result, the Fed made no major changes to its quantitative easing policy in January, U.S. Federal Reserve members indicated in the minutes from January's meeting, released Wednesday.

Henry Paulson's Memoir Is a Cautionary Tale

Henry Paulson's just-published memoir "On the Brink" recalls the financial crisis as it unfolded in the fall of 2008. Far from a gossipy tell-all, it devotes the bulk of its pages to the cautionary tale of how the world's financial system nearly collapsed -- and what he tried to do about it.