On the other hand, most economists and commentators seem more concerned about Baby Fed Bear. They may be correct from the standpoint of long-term societal consequences, but the damage to investors would likely be in below-average asset real returns, rather than in high volatility or crash risk; and the five-year prospects would be quite good.

Of course, we all hope for Mama Fed Bear to cure our inflation, bubble and overleverage problems with a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. My guess is that’s unlikely without progress on fiscal issues—not so much cutting spending and increasing taxes as moving from ideological brinksmanship to rational budgeting with honest numbers.

In most versions of the fairy tale, Goldilocks runs away from all three bears to the safety of her mother’s arms. She promises to be good and give up housebreaking and stealing food from wild animals. But there’s no running away from the three Fed Bears.

Aaron Brown is a former managing director and head of financial market research at AQR Capital Management. He is the author of The Poker Face of Wall Street. He may have a stake in the areas he writes about.

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