In reality both assignments are far more difficult than just about anyone understands or admits.
Unlike just about every other economist, I knew that the Fed would not taper in September because the economy is still fundamentally addicted to stimulus. The signs of recovery that have caused investors and politicians to bubble with enthusiasm are just QE in disguise. Take away the QE and the economy would likely tilt back into an even more severe recession than the one we experienced before QE1 was launched.
Given the Fed’s failure to initiate a tapering campaign in recent months (when it was highly expected) it is surprising that most people still believe that it will pull the trigger in the first quarter of 2014. But if the Fed could not take action in September, with Ben Bernanke at the helm and the nation as yet untraumatized by the debt ceiling drama and Obamacare, why should we expect tougher treatment from Janet Yellen?
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