Fed Meeting Preview

LOU DOBBS: Let's turn now to Lakshman Achuthan. The Fed meets tomorrow. What are they going to do?

LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, ECONOMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well, they're going to cut interest rates, again.

DOBBS: How much?

ACHUTHAN: Oh, 25, 50, I didn't know, for economy it really doesn't make too much of a difference at this point.

DOBBS: Well, it sure made a lot of difference apparently to a number of investors today rallying this market.

ACHUTHAN: It did. Well, I mean, they -- each time the Fed cuts, there is certainly some optimism that it's going to turn things around. And we've yet to see that happen.

DOBBS: Right.

ACHUTHAN: There's a lot of...

DOBBS: With nine rate cuts so far.

ACHUTHAN: With nine rate cuts so far and a lot of other stimulus in the economy.

DOBBS: There isn't something in economics that says the tenth time is the charm?

ACHUTHAN: Tenth time, no.

DOBBS: What's it going to take?

ACHUTHAN: It's going to take consumer confidence turning back up. And I don't know that a rate cut tomorrow of 25 or 50 basis points is going to do it.

DOBBS: So you're saying that the Fed needn't show up tomorrow for the FOMC meeting?

ACHUTHAN: No, I think they need to, because as we see the markets are betting on it. So I think it is important for maintaining investor confidence. But we need that confidence to spread from the investor to the man on the street.

DOBBS: And what do you think is going to take to do that?

ACHUTHAN: We need to see job losses slow. And we need to see some security progress. Those are the two things that I think are weighing very heavily on...

DOBBS: What kind of security progress? What does that mean?

ACHUTHAN: Well, we have a war in Afghanistan. And we need to see some tangible progress. We have securities...

DOBBS: OK. I see what you're seeing. I'm sorry. I was thinking in terms of national security at home.

ACHUTHAN: Well, I mean, Pat Buchanan was just talking about it. There's lots of ideas.

DOBBS: Right.

ACHUTHAN: But some sense of tangible progress on either of those fronts, security or jobs would, I think, make a lot of people feel better.

DOBBS: And as we look at prices now, we're getting a lot of stimulus built in here. We have low oil prices, broken through the two-year ago of levels. We have this federal stimulus package, nine interest rate cuts. It just seems that there is a lot of stimulus built in here.

ACHUTHAN: Yes, I would almost -- I would say that stimulus is not the issue. It's -- there's pent-up stimulus at this point. The consumer's taking it, putting it in their pocket. We're paying down debt. We need the situation where they go out and spend it.

DOBBS: And we'll get there.

ACHUTHAN: That's where we need to go.

DOBBS: You want to quickly tell me when?

ACHUTHAN: Not likely this year, I'm afraid.

DOBBS: Lakshman, thanks a lot.