The U.S. economy appears suspended at the boundary between tepid growth and recession, requiring a trillion-dollar federal deficit and unprecedented monetary easing simply to maintain that position. The Federal Reserve continues a well-known and fully-announced policy of quantitative easing, on course to push the monetary base (currency and bank reserves) to 27 cents per dollar of nominal GDP. The last time the monetary base reached even 17 cents per dollar of nominal GDP was in the early 1940’s. This was not unwound by subsequent monetary tightening, but instead by a near-doubling in the consumer price index by 1952. Based on the strong relationship between the monetary base and short-term interest rates, even a normalization of short-term interest rates to 2% would tolerate no more than about 9 cents of base money per dollar of nominal GDP without inflation. As a result, an eventual normalization of Fed policy would require either a 50% contraction in the monetary base, a doubling of the consumer price index, or about 14 years of economic growth at a 5% nominal rate. It is doubtful that the Federal Reserve will be able to extricate itself smoothly from its current policy stance by any of these means.