In a much anticipated announcement Thursday, the Federal Reserve said it would leave interest rates unchanged. Watch Fed Chair Janet Yellen's press conference on the announcement, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, on pbs.org/newshour.

The Federal Reserve is nearing the final drawdown of its quantitative easing program, which, in several ways, has helped reduce the budget deficit. But has that really been such a free lunch, asks economist Terry Burnham?…