The Fed has succeeded in holding down Treasury and mortgage rates, but that is the only clear accomplishment by government so far this year. A grand debate began last week between those who see Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's "green shoots" and those who don't. The Fed's Beige Book summary described a "moderation in the pace of decline ... some sectors stabilizing at a low level." The "shooters" pointed to better-than-expected bank earnings, slightly improved consumer confidence, a possible turn in unemployment claims, and flattening Institute for Supply Management surveys. The no-bottom counter-data: The small-business National Federation of Independent Business survey sunk to the second-worst level in its 35-year history (not by coincidenc...
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