Mortgage rates are still stuck near 6.75 percent, the financial markets confused and locked up until a blast of argument-resolving data arrives next Friday. Oil down to $123 and natural gas to $9.25 helped stocks for a while, but they still fell apart on no-bottom housing news and a sinking job market. The economy is obviously weakening, but rates are held up by fear that inflation is the greater risk -- even the stock market's Thursday elevator-shaft could not hold down long-term rates. Let us take time for silly-season recognition of government worthies and their efforts to combat our problems. Stagflation? Credit-binge? Housing ex-bubble? Financial-system insolvency? Energy crisis? We're hard at work on it. Whatever. Highest marks to the Fed. In retrospect, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke figured out the 1930 risks back in January. Rarely do courage, fast action and effectiveness meet so well as in the Bear Stearns intervention. Treasury Secretary Paulson has been late to t...
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