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Some economists were disappointed that the central bank didn’t raise rates to tame the inflation threat.

“The Fed has come up against kryptonite” with inflation flaring at the same time the economy is weakening, said Richard Yamarone of Argus Research Corp.

“The superhero is powerless” to combat inflation, he said. “It’s tough to justify an increase in borrowing costs with an anemic economy.”

“Inflationary pressures are currently intensifying, not abating,” said Andrew Schiff, an analyst with Euro Pacific Capital. “The recent housing bailout bill is the most inflationary legislation ever enacted and there is already talk of yet another economic ‘stimulus’ bill. The new money creation needed to finance these schemes, together with exploding federal budget deficits, will not only reverse the recent declines in commodity prices, but send other consumer prices soaring as well.”