Inflation Pressures Are Easing but Rate Cut Forecast Remains Uncertain

The New Year is beginning where the old one ended -- with uncertainty about when – or whether – the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates.

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The momentum driving legislation targeting abusive credit card practices, which seemed to be lagging in the Senate, has accelerated again on the strength of a strong public push from the White House. Inviting executives from the major credit card issuers to discuss the issue with him, President Barack Obama told them, in so many words, “Cut it out.” What he actually said: “The days of any time, any reason rate hikes and late fee taps have to end.”

Have you seen the silly commercial, where the guy crawls through a swamp and emerges to announce that he has “found the Internet?” Well, we’ve crawled through a statistical swamp and found good news to report – quite a lot of it, actually. And, note the calendar – this is not an April fool’s joke.

Subcommittees in the House and Senate have approved measures expanding credit card protections for consumers and eliminating many now common industry billing and marketing practices.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly rejected the stock market’s performance as a measure of his Administration’s efforts to repair the financial system and bolster the economy.