All over America, kids who were fortunate enough to go to summer camp are busy telling mom and dad what they did. Their stories will be suspiciously incomplete, but that’s OK. We know they learned something.

Well, I went to camp this summer, too. I go every year, and I always learn more than I can manage to remember. Camp Kotok is an invitation-only gathering of economists, market analysts, fund managers, and a few journalists. It takes place at the historic Leen’s Lodge in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. We fish, talk, eat, drink, and talk some more. It’s a three-day economic thought-fest (and more rich food and wine than is good for me or anyone else at the camp). For me, that’s about as good as life gets.

(Aat the end of the letter in the personal section I’ll describe a typical day at my summer camp. Not exactly arts and crafts and games. Unless poker counts as a game.)

Come along with me as I share some of my main takeaways from the camp and then, in a “lightning round,” touch on on a few various shorter topics.

David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors started the event after narrowly escaping death in the World Trade Center on 9/11. It was a way for him and a few friends to get away from the city, appreciate life, and talk about things that matter. Now the gathering has grown to about 50 of us. We meet under the Chatham House Rule, which means we can’t quote each other directly without permission. That helps promote an open exchange of ideas. And it’s definitely open. It is interesting to see the difference in the level of communication in an environment where people are not worried about being quoted when they trot out a new idea they have recently started thinking about. Testing those ideas against one’s peers, who might have different views about the same topic, is a valuable process.

David relaxes the rule for certain parts of the event, and that’s part of what I’ll share with you today. The Saturday night dinner always includes a debate on some contentious issue, with participants who are known to disagree. Martin Barnes from Bank Credit Analyst always moderates. He is one of the few who can quiet that room, with his imposing height, his booming Scottish brogue, and his offbeat sense of biting humor.

This year’s debate topic was the Federal Reserve. Specifically, we discussed the Fed’s future leadership and policies. Both are very much in question right now, and much depends on the answers. Time will tell what happens, but here is what some experts think.