Interest Rates

Economy
3:25 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Record Low Interest Rates Raise Inflation Concerns

The Federal Reserve plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero until 2014, and some critics are concerned about the risk of inflation and the message it sends about the economy.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The goal of the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is to juice the economic recovery. The low rates should make it easier for people to borrow money, which they'll hopefully spend; the increased demand for goods and services is then supposed to translate into more hiring.

That's what the Fed is banking on. It hopes low interest rates will help with its mandate of achieving maximum employment, but it also has another mandate: to keep prices stable.

"In many cases, those two conflict," says economist Joe Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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