Economists say the Federal Reserve's interest-rate cutting has reached the point at which it amounts to "pushing on a string" and it's a good thing the central bank is ready to talk about unconventional actions it can take to boost the economy. A former chief economist for the IMF, Simon Johnson, says interest rates should be cut "through direct Fed action" on mortgage and other markets. Mohamed El-Erian, co-CEO at Pimco, said the Fed was going to have to move, but not too soon, to stabilize the Triple-A consumer-finance segment of the debt markets.

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