Enough With When The Fed Will Raise Rates — Get Over It

According to my decidedly non-scientific survey, there have been 7,777 articles written this year (so far) on whether the Fed will raise interest rates, and when. The conclusion they’ve reached? Nobody knows — but everybody still gets a dime a word to speculate.

The conclusion I’ve reached?  Who the hell cares when they raise rates?  Whether in October or December or sometime later, they are going to raise interest rates. They have to. In order to retain a shred of integrity, relevance and ink spilled, they must act. And in order to protect against another recession (not that they have that power, really, but we like to humor them) they need arrows in their quiver.  

Let’s say for the fun of it that they raise rates in October by 0.25%. And again in December by 0.25%. Now they at least have 0.50% they can lower to maintain the illusion they can control the economy or at least “do something” when another economic malaise threatens. Does anyone really believe a 0.5% rise merits all this tearing of hair, gnashing of teeth, and spilling of ink? More interestingly, why do so many believe that any bit of good economic news warrants a triple-digit sell-off in the markets because then the Fed will feel secure in raising rates?

Markets go up because there are more anxious buyers than there are anxious sellers.  

Put another way, if investor perception of the future value of their investment in Company X or Market Z is strong, persistent and optimistic, markets rise. If investor perception of the future value of their investment in Company X or Market Z is weak, agitated, and pessimistic, markets fall.  Enough already of this incessant “will they or won’t they; only Janet Yellen’s hairdresser knows for sure.”  

What we are now certain of is the fact that investor perception has changed for the worse and even if the Fed doesn’t do a darn thing this entire year with interest rates, it was an overvalued market ready for any excuse to fall back to and, if history is any guide, below the mean of the past year or two. China provided that excuse. The Fed is providing that excuse. A drifting, incoherent foreign policy and so-so economic recovery is providing that excuse.  

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Joe Economy 6 years ago Member's comment

I agree, way too much time and energy spent on speculation. I do hope that when the Fed finally does make a decision that they stagger increases incrementally over a 12 month period to lessen the blow, start very small and gradually increase the rate.

Joseph Shaefer 6 years ago Author's comment

Joe, I can't imagine a scenario where they could do anything else. 0.25%and incrementally thereafter is how I see it unfolding when they finally begin...