Economy draped in TARP failure

Commentary: 'Fat cats' have it their way

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Long-term rates are falling, a brief bout of economic optimism now replaced by a renewed "Who knows?" Mortgage rates are 5 percent-ish (you might find a "4" prefix in your stocking) and the 10-year Treasury note is trying to head back under 3.5 percent.

The optimism crested with a surge in producer prices (core up 0.5 percent in November), and industrial production better than expected, up 0.8 percent. Some drew confidence from the Fed’s post-meeting assertion that "economic activity continued to pick up."