The Fed has spoken -- and will speak again -- as its members walk the narrow line between fear of strong inflation-producing growth and economic weakness brought on by the higher rates they impose. In fact, the economy has hugged that center line for so long that we seem to have forgotten just how frightening those extremes can be.Memories of recessions, job loss and home foreclosures are in the shady, distant past. Inflation, with soaring prices and interest rates, is thought of in historical terms. The word "stagflation" -- a combination of inflation and higher rates, with a slowing economy -- seems to have left our vocabulary. But as was said long ago by the philosopher Santayana: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So maybe it's time to take a look at history, and where we stand today in the economy, so you can prepare both your investments and your personal finances for those unhappy possibilities. Market historian James Stack, publisher of the InvesTech Research Market Analyst, has done just that in his most recent issue. If Stack's excellent track record and his historic economic statistics don't entice you to rebalance your investments because you take a longer-term view, they certainly should cause you to do some rethinking of your personal financial balance sheet and take immediate steps to deal with any variable-rate debt, such as an adjustable-rate mortgage or credit card debt.