The unrelenting rise in oil prices has put U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in the precarious position of trying to talk down inflation without raising interest rates.
The Fed is expected to keep its benchmark federal funds rate unchanged at 2 percent when its policy-setting committee meets this week.
It has more than halved rates since mid-September in a bid to prevent the housing slide and credit contraction from triggering a deep recession. But as the U.S. economy weakened in recent months and rates fell, the dollar's slump deepened.
That has contributed to rising prices for oil and other commodities that are priced in dollars, and has also made imports more expensive.
"The disconnect between Wall Streeters and Main Street is wider than the Atlantic ocean," writes Fast Money fan Rozanne S. "People are struggling in all facets of their financial lives. Middle class America is being squeezed by fuel, food and rising rates in all household utilities. 9 out 10 people I talk to have no exposure to the stock market. And no extra money to invest in it!!!!"
Obviously Rozanne is frustrated with the consequences of the Fed's actions. And that leads to our Fast Money Reader Poll. In hindsight, did the Fed do the right thing by lowering interest rates dramatically to minimize recession?
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