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Caroline Baum

The One Thing Bernanke Must Not Do Tomorrow

The one thing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke shouldn't do after the FOMC meeting is talk about when the central bank will start tapering its bond purchases.

A "coin toss." That's how most economists describe the outcome of this week's Federal Reserve meeting and the decision on whether to start slowing its asset purchases tomorrow or wait until early next year.

From an economic point of view, it matters very little whether the Fed cuts its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program now, in January or in March. Most folks expect the first reduction to be modest anyway, on the order of $10 billion or $15 billion.