The Spark

Has the Fed REALLY missed its window?

Janet Yellen
Getty Images

The window to raise rates hasn't been slammed shut—it has yet to creak open.

The panicky selloff in global markets prompted a chorus of observers to bemoan that the Federal Reserve has now missed its chance to raise interest rates.

But financial conditions are just one aspect of the broader economy. This selloff, steep as it's been, is only significant if it begets a global recession or otherwise trips up America's ongoing expansion.

Really, the U.S. has been crawling toward the precipice, finally, of full recovery and higher interest rates.

The biggest risk to that outcome, paradoxically, would be for the Fed to hike rates prematurely. Their window was not "open" to do so last year just because commodity prices hadn't yet fully collapsed and China hadn't yet stumbled.

Why?