Markets are in a frenzy, the rest of the global economy is slowing down and there are little signs of inflationary pressures building in the system. Everybody knows this is a terrible time for the Federal Reserve to be raising interest rates, right?
Not so fast.
While the number of fists banging on the table to get the Fed to re-examine its current policy arc seems to be growing by the day, central bank officials don't appear to be listening.
That's because it's not the Fed's job to react every time stocks correct or yields rise or economic forecasts nudge lower. Instead, policymakers are best off to stay resolute in the face of transitory shifts in financial conditions.
Even if deep down they're just as nervous as everyone else.
"The Fed has to do the opposite of the old adage, 'walk softly and carry a big stick.' They have to walk loudly and carry a small stick," said Gary Pollack, head of the private clients fixed income desk at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. "They have to portray an image before the financial markets as the adult in the room."
That's been a little harder to do lately.
Stocks have been in tumult, weakened by worries over a variety of factors. The S&P 500 was set to open on Friday down more than 9 percent from its record high. A 10 percent decline would put it officially in correction territory.