Shoppers at a Target store in Westbury, N.Y., last week. Consumer spending drives the economy. And the holiday shopping season is crucial for retailers. Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks to educators Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. At their most recent meeting, many Fed members backed action to boost the economy. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP