The Federal Reserve, whose policy committee meets next week, is looking at a third round of "quantitative easing" for which the central bank buys assets like mortgage-backed securities that businesses want off their books. The New York Times reports that the first two rounds helped the stock market and pushed investors to buy riskier assets. Beyond Wall Street, though, the effects were limited, as many businesses and individuals still cannot qualify for loans.
That the Fed is even looking at quantitative easing is acknowledgment of a disappointing economic recovery. Fed officials stated last month that the unemployment rate will stay above 8 percent the rest of 2012 unless action is taken. The rate is currently 8.1 percent.