The Federal Reserve made a bold prediction last Wednesday at the end of the regularly scheduled Federal Open Market Committee meeting. It said rates are going to stay low for years, through 2022.

Come on, you say. Everyone knows that. That’s not bold. Maybe and then again maybe they won’t stay low for years. I think it’s bold because the future is ofttimes hardly knowable 2 days out, let alone two years. The smart investor is skeptical of specific and definitive predictions about the long-term future—even from the Fed. Moreover, as I’ll note below, the Fed hasn’t been right about rates for years, actually. If you really want to know what’s going to happen to US interest rates then you should watch the Fed futures market.

Additionally, in new projections released Wednesday, all 17 Fed officials who participate in the rate-setting meetings said they expect to hold rates near zero next year, and 15 of them projected rates would stay there through 2022. That is two years from now. The Fed certainly believes in its own powers of projection.

So, what did the FOMC say last Wednesday. Fed chairman Jeremy Powell said—in a line that might come back to bite him: “We’re not thinking about raising rates.” said Mr. Powell. It’s the kind of line that will be me...

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