Friday, March 12, 2010
An early indicator, transactions data for big purchases, suggests that the American consumer is about to roll over. Can anybody say double dip?
One can hope that the chart doesn't indicate another 'crash' as much as it does a settling to a core rate as the people come off the 'sugar high' of programs such as cash for clunkers and first-time homebuyer tax breaks. Even so, it is rather dramatic, but probably reflects the true strength (or lack thereof) of consumer growth.
Despite the reported upward blip in certain economic indicators, the destruction of consumer credit has not broken its sharp, downward trajectory. At the same time, trillions in home equity have vanished, and job losses continue. Falling income, falling asset values, and falling credit don't don't provide a foundation for a consumer led recovery, despite what the propogandists in government and in the media would like us to believe. Be very cautious.
if, instead of the "Stimulus" the Democrats constructed, the Congress had simply declared a $900 billion tax holiday we would be in far better shape- less consumer debt, higher confidence, better volatility of money, stronger banks. The benefits would have been widely spread throughout the productive side of the economy.
The worst part of our failure is that it is unacknowledged and the wrong headed policies are being fiercely defended, even expanded. The Congressional Democrats are dangerous to our security, liberty and prosperity. The election can't come fast enough!