by Wall Street Journal •
Imagine you have a serious illness and have been taking medication that was supposed to cure you long ago. After being on the maximum dosage for years you start to feel better, so you ask your doctor if you could roll back the dosage, ever so slightly, to alleviate some of the side effects. He says that would be fine—but then a pharmaceutical rep tells you that doing so would be dangerous. Whose advice would you follow?
This resembles the situation today as the Federal Reserve signals its intent to start raising interest rates, ever so slightly, after six years of near-zero rates. This extraordinarily loose monetary policy was introduced in late 2008 when the global economy was in free fall. U.S. gross domestic product was plunging, the unemployment rate was rising and would soon climb above 10%, and in March 2009 the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall below 7000.