We are obsessed with the rate hike schedule. That's fine. I get that. The stock market will be in a tizzy when it happens. Bulls will officially be fighting the tape.
But it's the indignation of so many people I read and listen to and watch that bothers me. There are so many people who are in disbelief that we haven't had a hike, as if somehow this economy's roaring and the Fed is never ever going to raise rates.
Let me ask you a question, though. Looking back at the last five years of having indignant people tell you that the Fed should be raising rates, can you find a moment when it would have been the right call?
This economy's been horrendously inconsistent for ages. Every time it looks like something big is about to occur, it's been repulsed by some action, either by our government or their governments or by the weather.
Now, we can't do much about the weather, except we somehow act as if it is a one-off. It's not, if you are a small business person who has to make a certain amount of money per day to pay the nut.
More important though, the government has put headwind after headwind in front of the American people in terms of cutting support, pulling back financing and being tight in spending. State governments have been a huge drag. There's no real stimulus going on, and much of your tax dollars go to health care and military, which don't put a lot of people to work.
We had a windfall for a bit from lower oil prices, but we have had a huge blow to our export economy because of the strong dollar.
Lending is just now turning up, after six years of retrenchment. That makes sense, given that bankers are afraid of the regulators and would rather not do loans than be dinged for an uptick in non performers. We are just now getting to where household formation could sustain a better housing recovery.
In other words, in retrospect, the Fed's timing should be totally applauded. But the Fed gets no benefit of the doubt. It is always being accused of being too loose.
The second guessing never ends. I heard it all day and I heard it in the press conference and I heard it after. Why aren't they moving?
But this is the exact same refrain that I have heard for ages, and other than some pockets of real estate around the country that have overheated, typically because those areas are hard to build in, there's been no real price to pay AT ALL!
There will come a time when the stars align. It could have been now if it weren't for Greece. But the "if it weren't for" alibi has been astonishingly right to the point that the Fed's about as rigorous in its debating and choosing and parsing as it can get.
Why not just be proud of their prudence and judgment, and accord them the respect -- not the hectoring, but the respect -- they deserve?