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Federal Reserve grapples with economic reality

The reverse side of a U.S. twenty dollar bill matched up with the north side of the White House in Washington, D.C.

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let's get to the Fed. A two day meeting gets underway today in Washington. The central bank is not expected to announce any new bond-buying stimulus measures,though.

Juli Niemann is an analyst with Smith Moore and Company. She's with us live from St. Louis, as she is every Tuesday. Good morning.

JULI NIEMANN: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: So Juli, would no news be good news from the Fed? Bad news? What?

NIEMANN: Well they're going to talk, but basically they're no new tools. They can rename, but it's the same game. They can buy the debt and they'll continue to do that. Keep official interest rates at zero, but nothing's going to change unemployment and housing as far as the Fed's done. But it's the pressure to do something. But Fed intervention is like Oxycontin. It relieves the pain temporarily, does nothing to cure the cause of the pain, and it gets the market addicted to their intervention.

HOBSON: Like Oxycontin Juli, but on the other hand -- if the Fed does nothing, doesn't that risk hurting the fragile recovery?

NIEMANN: And it will. You know, the ability of institutional investors to panic when faced with the obvious is legendary. We ignore risk until it hits you in the face. We know the problems -- the deficit and this bizarre dance in Congress, the debt -- and it's national, consumer, and household bank debt. The only thing is we're delaying it. That means the size of the problem keeps getting bigger and the reckoning keeps getting bigger. As one guru put it there are no more deficit hawks in the country, only deficit vultures. And that's what we're facing.

HOBSON: Juli Niemann, analyst with Smith Moore and Company, thanks so much.

NIEMANN: You bet.

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