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A steady Fed would hike rates another notch

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2016.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2016.

It looks as if the Federal Reserve will stand pat on interest rates on Wednesday. That risks making Chair Janet Yellen look inconsistent. The U.S. central bank in December raised the overnight cost of money from essentially zero to 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, then held steady in January. It's hard to find good arguments against another modest increase.