Optimism and hope continue to reign that the U.S. economy will strengthen, but some doubts are beginning to surface. Hard economic data have been mixed. Political turbulence and daily drama in Washington may delay or sidetrack tax reform and infrastructure spending. In this month’s letter, Bill Longbrake examines the long-term potential rate of real GDP growth and explains why the lackluster 1.7 to 2.0 percent annual growth expectation may turn out to be overly optimistic. He also discusses why the labor market might not be as tight as most believe, why inflation might not reach the Fed’s 2 percent target, and why annual wage growth may top out at less than 3.35 percent. In Bill’s discussion of monetary policy, he muses about whether the Fed is “behind” or “ahead of the curve,” and explains possible approaches to reducing the Fed’s bloated balance sheet. Read the full letter.