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Eds: Adds FEDERAL RESERVE-WHAT IT MEANS, FEDERAL RESERVE-THE GREAT DEBATE, SHUTDOWN VS DEFAULT, DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-CAMERA PHONES, SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK, SMART SPENDING-MEAT LABELS
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FEDERAL RESERVE-WHAT IT MEANSWASHINGTON â¿¿ The Federal Reserve's surprise decision to maintain its economic stimulus could be happy news for home and car buyers, people with 401k accounts and perhaps some of the world's developing economies. Yet the Fed sent a sobering message for jobseekers and the U.S. economy: Hiring and growth remain weak and vulnerable to damage from budget fights in Washington. By Paul Wiseman. Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime. 800 words. AP photos. With: FEDERAL RESERVE-THE GREAT DEBATE WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Federal Reserve's decision to postpone any pullback in its economic stimulus immediately ignited a debate: Was the Fed right or wrong to delay the inevitable? Investors had anticipated a reduction in the Fed's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, which are intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low to encourage spending. A pullback would have been a signal that the Fed felt the economy had shown steady improvement. Here is the case for slowing the purchases â¿¿ and the case against it. By Paul Wiseman and Christopher S. Rugaber. Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime. 1,320 words. AP photo. SHUTDOWN VS DEFAULT WASHINGTON â¿¿ Here's the truth about a government "shutdown." The government doesn't shut down. Even if a dysfunctional Washington can't pass a temporary funding bill before the new budget year begins on Oct. 1, Social Security checks will still go out. Troops will remain at their posts. But lurking around the corner is a much bigger danger: Sometime next month or in early November the government could run out of cash and not be able to borrow. The result: delays in Social Security benefits and paying troops. By Andrew Taylor.