So says retail analyst maven Howard Davidowitz, who observes that the consumer isn't consuming at anything like the rate he and she did just a few years ago. Too much debt coupled with poor job prospects will do that. Depending on one's vantage point, this is either very bad news or perhaps good news. It might be good news if it portends our culture possibly veering away from a profoundly wasteful and spiritually destitute way of life. The bad news is that with the consumer comprising 70% of the U.S. economy, the transition to a new and hopefully better mode of living will be quite rocky indeed.
In the meantime the powers that be are desperately trying to convince us and possibly themselves that "a recovery" is underway. The favored logic they tend to employ amounts to about as paltry and appalling a narrative as one can imagine. Here it is in a nutshell, and I emphasize the nut part of nutshell. A person with a severe and chronic drinking problem switches from a bottle of grain alcohol a day to a bottle of the grape. Voila, recovery! The MSM are flogging this less than compelling tripe anywhere they can, and the vast majority of the several thousand U.S. economists who didn't predict the most recent economic collapse are on board with it. Inter alia, new star economist Nouriel Roubini, who seems more or less in agreement with the recovery bandwagon, risks losing some substantial portion of the cred he earned by not being one of the multitude of economists who missed our financial and economic cliff dive by a country mile.
To return to the theme of the mortally wounded consumer briefly, one devoutly hopes that when all vestiges of green shoots are inevitably and unmistakably revealed to be brown weeds-the result of John and Jane consumer's persistently moribund condition- attempts to audit, if not completely do away with, the grotesque Federal Reserve System may finally achieve the impetus to reach escape velocity speed. Because right now, HR 1207 appears to be languishing in the bought and paid for (where it isn't simply a clueless and cowardly) Congress.