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Officials See few alternatives if things are slow



After debating for several days about the United States entering an economic downturn, Washington policy makers and Wall Street investors on Wednesday tapped into an even more difficult problem: There are few good options for dealing with one if that happens.

With already short-term interest rates, the Federal Reserve has little room to cut borrowing costs to stimulate spending and investment, as it usually does in a slowdown. In the meantime, the federal debt is exploding, which could hinder any effort to boost tax cuts or spending …


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