In efforts to rescue the economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression, the government, and particularly the Federal Reserve, employed dramatic rescue methods never before attempted

Now the Fed has decided the time has come to reverse some of those efforts

At least from the outside, the Fed’s first step in doing so seems heavy-footed, ending its massive program of purchasing mortgage-related securities cold-turkey, as it did on March 31

The Fed’s mortgage-purchase program was instrumental in holding down mortgage rates, which in turn supported last year’s recovery in the important housing industry

It’s potentially a big change for the fragile housing recovery

As of March 31 the Fed had purchased more than $1.2 trillion of those mortgage-backed securities over the previous 15 months

Unfortunately, hardly more than a week after the Fed halted the program, giant mortgage provider Freddie Mac reports that 30-year home mortgage rates have jumped to 5.21%, up from 5.08% the previous week, and 4.71% in December

That’s not good news coming just a few weeks before the government is also scheduled to end its program of $6,000 to $8,000 rebates to new home-buyers, and on the heels of reports that home sales had already been declining again since January.