Fed repeats “exceptionally low” for “an extended period” (Fed statement) The Fed maintains that it isn’t raising rates for the foreseeable future, but repeated that it plans to end MBS asset purchases by April next year. Too bad we can’t get a surprise rate hike in order to chase risk back out of credit markets…

Wells’ CLO deal called “landmark” (Paulden, Bloomberg) The return of CLOs would be the latest sign that Wall Street is dancing again.

Big decision looms on Fannie and Freddie (Timiraos/Hagerty, WSJ) Suggests Obama could expand his commitment to Fannie and Freddie beyond $400 billion while he’s still able to unilaterally. If he waits till next year, Congress would have to approve.

Man of the Year: Ben Bernanke (Time) Ha! Ben should have said thanks but no thanks. Ten years ago Time christened Rubin/Greenspan/Summers as The Committee to Save the World. In the fullness of time, all have been proven failures. Time’s endorsement is final confirmation that Bernanke too is a failure.

Norway raises rates (Kremer, Bloomberg) More fodder for yesterday’s Norway thesis. Higher rates make for a more attractive currency…

Some debt-laden graduates wonder why they bothered with college (ABC News) Full of choice quotes: “You’re led down this path of needing to go to college,” [says one indebted grad]. “The college diploma is the new high school diploma.”

Spend more. Get less. The worst fun city in America (Wachs/Eskenazi SFWeekly)

The year in photos, part 1, part 2 and part 3 (The Big Picture) More from the best photo blog on the web.

Canadian ice-fishing…