shows us anything, it's that the short-term rates are fluctuating much faster than the long-term rates are.
So I'm not sure your statement about anticipation of a down cycle makes sense. The long-term rates don't lead the short-term rates around. The short-term rates are adjusted quickly to moderate anticipations, and the long-term rates float with the economy, which in small part is affected by this short-term manipulation.
The other thing that widget tells us is that long-term rates are at 30-year lows. But a lot of things in the economy are at 30-year lows, so that's just the way things are.
Are yopu unaware that the 2012 election posturing is undeway, and that the weak economy and high unemployment are driving Fed behavioe, that and an itense motivation to avoid any appearance of frustrating a second term Presidential bid.
So, if you live outside of ther USA and have no undertstanding of Fed behavior, your uncertainty is sensible. Otherwise...
I don't doubt the Fed is keeping consumer sentiment in mind. But Bernanke just started a new term a year ago, and isn't due for reappointment until 2014. He gets to keep his job whether Obama or (insert name of one of the loopy right-wing nutjobs being touted for the nomination here) is President.
The only thing that gets Fed chairmen fired is decrepitude and the perception of total incompetence.