Who writes this stuff?
From Consumer Spending Stalls
While the 0.4 percent rise in consumer spending before accounting for inflation was larger than had been expected, it is inflation-adjusted spending that is used to compute overall economic growth.
A flat reading in this category in December and January means that last year ended and the new year began on an exceedingly weak note, since consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity.
Many economists believe that the country will slip into a recession this year, if the downturn has not already started. They are predicting that the slump will be a mild one and will end by midyear when the rebate checks from the recently passed $168 billion economic stimulus package start showing up in mailboxes.
However, more optimistic analysts believe it is still possible that the country will skirt by without a full-blown recession. President Bush told reporters on Thursday that he did not think the country was in a recession.
Opinion ranges from "mild slump that ends when rebate checks are sent out" (!) to "no recession".
All it takes, at worst, is $168 billion in (borrowed) spending, and the last seven years of multi-trillion dollar debt-fueled growth will be taken care of.
Don't worry, be happy.
My rebate check will go directly to pay off credit cards. I won't be adding anything to the econonmy, I'll just finally be paying off what I added to the economy last year.