If your job is to predict what the Fed will do this year with regard to interest rates you’ve got your work cut out for you. That’s putting it mildly. For those who are traditional Fed Followers it has long been the case the classic theory has been implemented, that being the Fed will raise rates when the economy looks as if some time in the near future inflation might be an issue and it’s time to cool things down a bit and when the economy is a slowly sinking ship interest rates must be lowered in order to encourage borrowing as well as lending.

But so many curves have been thrown lately that the classic theory may not be the best approach. In fact, there may be no approach at all.

The Fed raised the Federal Funds rate, the rate banks charge each other for overnight lending, primarily to bolster reserves, last December, the first such increase in almost a decade. The thinking was as more new jobs were created and the unemployment rate falling there would soon be an increase in wages for all. More money in consumer’s pockets means more spending which, again in theory, means higher prices paid on the retail level which would ultimately affect wholesale prices. But that’s not what appears to be happening.

Wages may be on the rise but not really as much as one might expect given the 200,000+ job creation binge we’ve been on for some time now. And speaking of a binge, while 200,000 is a decent number it’s nothing that indicates an economy starting to roll. Stocks appear to be stuck and while consumers are enjoying lower prices at the pump an oil glut is laying people off in the oil sector which then, eventually, slows down consumer spending and keeps wages and inflation below expected levels. It seems to be a cycle where stocks provide marginal gains and bonds are the safest, yet low-yielding alternative for the traditional investor. Private note investors who provide financing for real estate acquisitions aren’t experiencing such a see-saw scenario, but again, if you get paid to predict, it’s rough going for rates, stocks and bonds.