Consumer spending propped up our weak economic numbers long enough to get President Obama through the election – which is one reason that he used to treat his “payroll tax cut” raid on Social Security funding as the most important #60Dollars in every American’s life, before suddenly and silently dropping it during the fiscal cliff showdown. That’s all over now, as Bloomberg News reports that consumer spending held up through the holiday season, but cratering personal incomes forecast dark times ahead:
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in January even as incomes dropped by the most in 20 years, showing households were weathering the payroll-tax increase by socking away less money in the bank.
Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 76 economists called for a 0.2 percent advance. Incomes slumped 3.6 percent, sending the saving rate down to the lowest level since November 2007.