The Federal Reserve could have easily done without the latest interest rate hike. Resisting the White House's public appeal to keep rates unchanged was not necessary to show the Fed's independence.
The U.S. monetary authorities are now managing the most difficult phase of their policy process. Their attempts to prudently unwind a decade-long period of extraordinary credit expansion are triggering a wave of asset repricing dominated by market expectations that rising interest rates will lead to an economic slowdown of unknown amplitude and duration.
That is a situation deserving much greater attention than brushing off political intrusions with apparently capricious rate hikes causing losses worth trillions of dollar to American and worldwide savers.
The Fed may also wish to review the cacophony of its contradictory and confusing public statements about its real or implied policy intent. "Keep them guessing" as markets' betting fodder, and a form of dueling with Wall Street, is a game of another time. Regular disclosures of policy relevant data and decisions are enough.
Apart from those largely procedural issues, the Fed has done a good job in keeping afloat an economy beset by (a) deep structural problems in labor markets, (b) the depressive impact of systematic and excessive trade deficits, (c) excesses created by a long period of crisis management and (d) a totally unaffordable fiscal policy.