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Bad to the Bone By: Charles Payne

Okay, it's nail-biting time, which hasn't been the case with one of these FOMC meetings in a long time. The thing is I'm not sure what, exactly, the Street wants to hear. Ben Bernanke set the stage with his "unusually uncertain" comments which leaves to interpretation duration and fragility of the recovery. This was a question somewhat answered on Friday with that disappointing jobs report.

The recovery is flimsy and fragile, and the notion of a jobless recovery seems more like a reality every day. The thing is that such a recovery would come with dark clouds and limitations, although it may be unavoidable in a climate where the powers that be are focused on a different agenda. The market needs a spark and could get it ten minutes after 2:00 pm. But, the market isn't sure what that spark would be.

I will say the Fed has to live up to the Bernanke myth and make it clear they are prepared to take action, but also note that it's too early. The language has to change to the point where it says the economy is still climbing out of the hole, albeit at a slower pace, and if it needs a booster shot we have the medicine. Of course, buying assets probably has a limited impact on the economy but flooding banks with more funds at some point breaks the dam; I can only hope they are there before the real onslaught occurs. On the other hand, businesses have cut to the bone and they probably have to hire to best run their operations. That's the rosy interpretation of productivity numbers out this morning. Interestingly, the sharp plunge in hours worked has improved steadily for the fifth consecutive quarter. First, hours improve and then workers can ask for more money.

Not yet, however, as hourly compensation actually edged slightly lower.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses put out another disappointing survey from its members this morning. The way I read the report suggests Fed policy may have limitations, while it's all about fiscal policy and political assault. The general economy is full of angst and in my mind, a large percentage of that can be traced to policies designed to bring businesses to their knees.

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