``Responding to a question after his speech, Bernanke said he disagreed with a minority of analysts who fear another recession is nearing. But he said the economy is growing at an annual rate of only between 1.5 percent and 2 percent -- too slow to lower unemployment much.

The Fed's decision last month to launch a new mortgage-buying program was approved by its policy committee, 11-1. Jeffrey Lacker, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, cast the lone dissenting vote. Lacker has argued that further bond buying won't likely provide much economic help and risks igniting inflation in the future.''

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