Pessimism among investors reflects not just the indicators pointing towards recession. There is a deeper concern that, if or when that recession comes, policymakers will have very few options for dealing with it. Short-term interest rates are close to zero in most of the rich world. The scope for adding further pep through quantitative easing is limited. Long-term interest rates are already low; driving them lower with another round of QE is unlikely to invigorate aggregate demand much more. Tax cuts or increases in public spending could still be effective in fighting recession. But investors worry that there is little scope or appetite for financing a fiscal stimulus with yet more debt. Public debt in America rose from 64% of GDP in 2008 to 104% by 2015; in the euro area, it rose from 66% to 93%; in Japan, from 176% to 237%.