Fed chief Ben Bernanke faces decision on inflation

Reporting from Washington—

With the well-being of millions of Americans and the U.S. economy at a pivotal point, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke faces a crucial decision — and he faces it almost alone on a world stage.

At issue is whether it’s time to begin putting on the financial brakes to avoid a potentially dangerous surge in inflation or instead keep stimulus policies in place to help keep the still-vulnerable recovery moving ahead.

If the Fed gets the decision wrong, the consequences could be grave and far-reaching.

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