Markets & Economy

Fed’s un-taper is a stay of execution, not a commutation

Commentary: Only an economic relapse will preserve Fed's quantitative easing program

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Several jigsaw pieces to assemble this week, but they fit neatly into pictures of leadership from the Fed all the way to Pope Francis. First the taper-taper caper. Don't misunderstand: The Fed's un-taper is a stay of execution, not a commutation. One day the governor will say, "Get on with the show," and the lights in the Big House will dim. Only an economic relapse will preserve QE. For those mewling about Fed inconsistency and bad communication and how confusing it all is, I'm sorry. If you want certainty, pick a different line of work. I admire Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's honesty: "... The tightening of financial conditions observed in recent months, if sustained, could slow the pace of improvement in the economy." Translation: Our taper jawbone jacked rates a lot farther than we expected, here and overseas, and we're going to let all of that settle down and see what new data say. Next to that puzzle piece fits an amoeba-shaped thingy. Larry Summers put himself out of...