It is not all in the mind, the business of steering a large and diverse economy, but monetary fine-tuning can never work if the idea takes hold that the tuner is making a hash of it.
The Bank of England's great achievement in the eight years since it took over the once dramatic business of fixing interest rates has been to make it boring. Lack of drama, plus some skill, determination and a touch of luck early on has convinced everyone who matters that the Bank gets it right.
While unemployment has sunk to a level that would have triggered a round of inflationary pay rises at any other time in recent British history, wage bargainers now take it for granted that the Bank can and will keep inflation within the stated one per cent of its target.
In the City you can no longer make big bucks betting that Bank will do something exciting, let alone panicky. Nobody is surprised any more.
Yesterday, though, it was harder to maintain this blessed boredom. The Bank was taken aback by the collapse in sales of consumer durables and accepts that the wider shopping slowdown is more than a set of erratic statistics. It is saying nothing about the disturbing fall in industrial output reported on Monday, except that it saw the numbers in advance.
What the Bank did not expect was the sharp jump last month in the official rate of inflation to 1.9 per cent, even though that was still below its own target.
Inevitably, there is talk of a two-way pull, with the real economy needing cheaper money to pep it up, while until quite recently higher rates were seen as inevitable to keep inflation subdued.
More than ever yesterday boredom was at a premium when the Bank's usually suave and courteous Governor Mervyn King presented the latest "Inflation Report". Yet he let the stress show a couple of times. Quite out of character, he snapped at one inoffensive journalist for asking a "stupid question", and refused to let another ask his colleague Paul Tucker why he had voted to raise interest rates.
It was never the easy job Mr King made it seem - and evidently less so now.