There's no need to fear the taper.
The US Federal Reserve's policy-making committee meets this week and is likely to continue to wind back its program of monetary stimulus.
In mid-December, the Fed announced that, from January, it would reduce its purchases of bonds issued by the US Treasury and government-sponsored agencies by $US10 billion to $US75 billion a month.
The consensus among Fed-watchers is that the Fed is poised to cut it again to $US65 billion
That's still a lot of bonds.
And it's still a lot of money being "printed" - a term that's widely used by not a very good description of what's actually happening in this process of "quantitative easing" of monetary policy.
It's not really printed, as such.
The money the Fed uses to pay for the bonds is credited to the private banks' reserve accounts at the Fed, the banks' bank.
This money doesn't actually go into circulation - it can only be used to settle transactions between the banks, the Fed and the government.
So it can't actually be "lent out".
And once the private banks have sufficient reserves to cover any likely settlement transactions, any more reserves - now measured at around $US2.4 trillion, from about $10 billion ahead of the global crisis - won't make much difference.
Their main impact relates to the way they are accumulated.
By buying the bonds, which it pays for by creating reserves, the Fed is increasing demand for long-term debt securities.
And when demand for these securities rises, their yield falls, in the same way that bank deposit rates fall when lots of people want to put their money in the bank.
Lower bond yields ripple through the economy, pulling down other long-term lending rates - like the 30-year fixed-rate home loans so popular in the US.
So the Fed's so-called "quantitative easing", now being "tapered", is all about putting downward pressure on longer-term interest rates.
As for shorter term rates, the federal funds rate - the equivalent of the Reserve Bank of Australia's cash rate - has been at or near zero since late 2008.
And it looks like staying there for another year or two, at least until the unemployment rate - currently 6.7 per cent - falls below 6.5 per cent and most likely a while longer.
The Fed's next policy meeting winds up on Wednesday afternoon in Washington DC - early Thursday in east Asian time-zone.
The likely extension of the taper has been well anticipated and should not roil markets much.
It's not bad news.
The US economy is only being weaned off the monetary morphine because the economic pain is subsiding.
For Australia, it's good news.
Although not as dominant as it used to be, a healthy US economy is good for Australia.
The upward drift in US interest rates will continue to erode international money market support for the Australian dollar.
And a lower exchange rate will also help the local economy.
So fear not.