Issuing debt would give the Federal Reserve increased flexibility in its quest to stabilize the financial system, but it also raises questions. The Fed already has the ability to print as much money as needed, and government debt issuance is a Treasury function. Fed officials, who already broached the idea with Congress, are searching for tools to battle the credit crunch and recession.
Retailers increasingly are using text-message alerts to keep their customers informed about sales and special events, while online retailers are using microblogging site Twitter to alert shoppers to deals. Gap, Target, Sears Holdings and Amazon.com have launched wireless-outreach programs this year.
The influence of the Federal Reserve's regional bank presidents on borrowing costs has been diminished over the past two months, largely as a result of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Fed Board of Governors deciding to move ahead with a series of emergency measures. "The Board has usurped authority," said William Poole, a former president of the St. Louis Fed who is now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "This dramatic change in policy direction has not been announced or even acknowledged."