The Fed Then… As 2015 marches on, we draw closer to the first rate hike by the U.S. Central bank in nearly a decade. This time, however, the rate hikes that will eventually occur have a decidedly different flavor than those from previous cycles. From the 1970s through the mid 2000s, the Federal Reserve was fighting a different war. As price levels moved higher during the 1970s and early 80s, the Fed’s role was largely that of inflation fighter. Even throughout the late 1980s and 90s, long after inflationary pressures had leveled off, the Fed sought to err on the side of caution in an effort to maintain price stability by staying “ahead of the curve.” It was not always successful in this regard, but one thing remained clear – the Fed was keenly aware of building price pressures. It fought many battles and ultimately won the war (see Chart 1).