Everyone knows U.S. interest rates are low and below historical long-term averages.

But one Vanguard expert says that—keeping in mind the double-digit rates of the '70s and early-'80s, it's "somewhat astonishing that the yields on a broadly diversified basket of high-quality bonds (whether Treasury, corporate, or municipal securities) are often now below 2 percent or 3 percent.

Given the rise in prices for food, health care and other select goods and services, such an environment can rightfully be thought of as 'financial repression,' said, Ken Volpert, head of Vanguard's Taxable Bond Group, in an outlook report released last week.

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Janet Levaux

Editor-in-Chief Janet Levaux has covered the financial markets since 1991, with a focus on financial advisors since 2005. After graduating from Yale and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she studied global economics, Janet worked as a freelance financial and business writer in Japan, and then as a reporter and editor for Investor's Business Daily and the Bay Area News Group in California. She earned an MBA in 2007 and since then has helped lead key ThinkAdvisor projects like its Neal-Award winning reporting on Ken Fisher, Luminaries awards program and Women in Wealth newsletter.