One thing is for sure. Mr. Bernanke’s announcement yesterday is the most extraordinary to come out of the Fed since the all-time previous: Paul Volcker on Columbus Day weekend 1979 said the Fed would allow interest rates to rise as high as necessary to defeat inflation.

As today’s problems are the polar opposite of 1979, and raising rates had long been the accepted and effective remedy for inflation, and Mr. Volcker’s policies succeeded in solving the problem, it is difficult further to compare these two moments.

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