Former Federal Reserve Chairman William McChesney Martin joked that it was his job to "take away the punch bowl just as the party gets going." But Alan Greenspan never did, choosing instead to spike it every time the party slowed down. The results were more than a little unfortunate.
The Great Debate
The FOMC is determined not to make waves, either in the markets or in Congress. Today's decision looks to be a compromise between these two goals. Lawmakers such as Jim DeMint are yearning for an end to the credit easing policies. But going cold turkey might unsettle the Treasury market. Allowing the program to taper off gently is a good middle ground. With the Fed's regulatory role hanging in the balance in Congress over the coming months, this is no time to attract adverse attention.
It's no wonder that the Federal Reserve has a watchful eye on commercial real estate. Lending hasn't come back, prices are plummeting and those that poured funds into the sector during real estate boom are getting killed by high vacancy rates and falling rents.