Consumer

The Magic “Wealth Effect” On Our Hapless Renters

Prices for housing have jumped and rents have jumped too, yet the 38.7 million renters, 34% of all households, watched with dismay as their real wages declined. They’ve got a problem with the “wealth effect” that Bernanke held up as pretext for printing money.

Strung-out Consumers, Desperate Retailers, Crummy Sales

Tally: 7 deaths, 90 injuries from shootings, stabbings, tramplings, fights, pepper sprayings…. “Only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have,” a tweet explained. It’s been tough for retailers too.

Coming Soon: Corporate Tools To Hollow Out National Sovereignty

Now “trade agreements” are negotiated behind sealed doors, without public oversight, beyond the reach of Congress. The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is secret, but some sections were leaked. It deals with trade only on the margins. Corporate interests dominate. It mocks democracy, establishes kangaroo courts, and taxpayers are on the hook.

Last Hope For Holiday Shopping Frenzy: The Few Who Can Splurge

Consumer spending hasn’t exactly been hot. With one big exception: auto sales. At 20% of total retail sales, they’ve been phenomenal and propped up overall retail sales. But in September, there was a downdraft. The calendar got blamed. And in October, there was the government shutdown and debt-ceiling debacle. And now all bets are off.

Hiding Inflation: People Get Bigger, Airline Seats Get Narrower

Selling airline tickets to our increasingly pauperized consumers is an art. And hiding price increases is an even greater art. While there are people who don’t worry about the price as they luxuriate in first class, others aren’t so lucky. For them, the industry has a special treat: squeezing their hips.