You watch the person in the next cubicle lose their job. You see your company cut contributions to your 401K. Any investments you had have been cut in half. Your house is worth less than what you bought it for. You might be asked to take a pay cut or a non paid "vacation."
Yet through it all — the stress, the strain, the worry, the economy needs you to go out and spend!
It’s not happening. Today we learned that March was a downer when it comes to consumer spending. An expected bump in spending turned out to be the biggest drop in three months.
Before the "Great Recession," Americans were saving close to nothing. We charged up our credit cards with fancy homes, gas guzzling cars and flat screen TV’s (gasp!).
But now the savings rate is ticking up. People have pulled back. Credit card bills are being paid down. Some are calling it the "new normal"…a more fiscally constrained era.
President Obama, on his visit to Europe, said "the world has become accustomed to the US being a voracious consumer." He warned the world can’t rely on the American consumer to spend our way out of this mess.