From Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/41814536218
By Robert Reich
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Conference Board reported Tuesday that the preliminary January figure for consumer confidence in the United States fell to its lowest level in more than a year.
The last time consumers were this bummed out was October 2011, when there was widespread talk of a double-dip recession.
But this time business news is buoyant. The stock market is bullish. The housing market seems to have rebounded a bit.
So why are consumers so glum?
Because they’re deeply worried about their jobs and their incomes – as they have every right to be.
The job situation is still lousy. We’ll know more this coming Friday about what happened to jobs in January. But we know over 20 million people are still unemployed or underemployed.
Personal income is in terrible shape. The median wage continues to drop, adjusted for inflation.
Most people can’t get readily-available loans because banks are still cautious about lending to anyone without a sterling credit history. (Eliminate student loans and you find Americans aren’t borrowing any more than they were a year ago.)
And the payroll tax hike has reduced paychecks for the typical American by about $100 a month. That’s just about what the typical family spends to fill up their gas tanks per month. Or half what they spend for groceries each week.
Continue reading at: http://robertreich.org/post/41814536218