The U.S. Federal Reserve says that the "impetus" to economic growth will be "wearing off … in the next year or so," while continuing to insist on the need for tightening credit conditions.
That sounds like the Fed wants to make sure the economy goes into an intractable recession.
Media reports are amplifying the confusion with stories that the Fed is worrying about the impact of tight labor markets on inflation in a slowing economy.
Looking at that mishmash, President Donald Trump might be forgiven for turning to his real estate friends to see growth implications of rising credit costs and the collapsing housing demand.
American residential investments virtually stagnated at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the first three quarters of this year, after a sharp slowdown to a 3.4 percent growth in 2017.
That's a serious jolt to private consumption, because a slowdown of housing demand always triggers a decline in sales of consumer durable goods, popularly known as the "big-ticket items," such as furniture, home furnishings, kitchen appliances and cars.
Consumer durables account for nearly 40 percent of all goods purchases in the U.S. economy, and their annual growth rate in the first three quarters of this year was a meager 1.4 percent.