Monday, January 31, 2011

Consumer Spending Up . . .

December marked .07% increase in consumer spending. No kidding??? That increase wasn't due to lavish holiday gifts, either! Gasoline and grocery prices are up, I'm guessing by even more than .07%, but the average consumer couldn't scrape together any more money than we did. If we'd have had more, who knows, maybe we could have actually bought something special for the holidays. I spoke to many people who stated their holidays were cut back and more conservative in their gift giving, as well as the gifts they did give were of a more practical nature. It wasn't a holiday gift, but a very practical birthday gift for which I heard a true and very enthusiastic thank you. Let me explain. My dad is pretty frugal,as well as, shall we say fiscally comfortable, and he enjoys his coffee, regardless of the price of beans and tariffs. From time to time I've gotten him some gourmet coffees as gifts, for which he thanks me, but his last birthday, I actually heard enthusiasm in his voice. It was no simple courtesy, he was happy to receive his gift. What was it? A Casey's Gift Card. That's right, nothing spectacular, nothing fancy, just the Gift Card in his birthday card, with the note that said, "Coffee's on us!" Love . . . He said that was something he would put to good use! I mentioned it would go a lot farther buying coffee than it would gasoline and he said that was the great thing, he could use it for either. Daddy's is not in a position to need that gift, it was a perk, but many people in this country need more than that, just to attempt to continue to survive. Many people in this country are not just barely making it, they are over extended to try to barely make it. So, if I multiply this sort of giving and enthusiastic receiving, on a national basis and compare it to consumer spending, which I'm guessing would be a pretty reasonable thing to do, I arrive at the conclusion that our consumer spending is going on necessities or very modest perks. I don't think consumer spending has risen because we are all back to full swing and enjoying the luxuries of life. If my dad, who has worked hard all his life, always saved a percent of his income, and invested wisely; considers coffee and gasoline a thoughtful gift, just what does the consumer spending index tell us? Consumer spending is up because people still have to buy food and gasoline and pay for utilities, and all those products have gone up. Consumer spending is up because the prices have gone up and we've accepted that fact!
Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? Prophet of Holy Scripture
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