The well-known pollster Scott Rasmussen has a new poll out today. The publicly available summary includes the following:
Most Americans plan to spend less money on gifts than they did last year, and fewer adults will be doing their shopping on the Internet.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of American Adults say they’ll spend less on gifts than they did a year ago, while just 11% say they’ll spend more.
The spending data is generally consistent with Gallup’s daily polling of 1500 adults, which shows self-reported discretionary spending unchanged from last year, despite higher prices for most things, and which shows a continual feeling that the pollee’s economic circumstances have declined steadily since the onset of the “Great Recession”.
Rasmussen’s finding that Internet shopping may be peaking would be a surprise. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
For now, the main economic variables I see for the United States relate to the fact that since the (technical) end of the recession in mid-2009, wage and interest income have not risen much while the cost of living has risen a good deal more; thus, objective economic circumstances have worsened. Worsening the situation is the continued decline in real estate values. So people’s main source of wealth – their home- has lost value in nominal dollars at the same time that on average their spending power out of current income has materially worsened.
Please note that none of the above data have anything to do with the fact that Greece has been shown to be a deadbeat borrower or that Europe appears to have entered into a recession. The U.S. has a GDP that exceeds that of the entire Eurozone. Only a modest part of the American economy is comprised of exports, a minority of exports go to the Eurozone, and the great majority of those will continue even if European GDP declines a few percent. Plus, a deceleration of European economic prospects has helped allow for lower Brent crude prices, and investment capital has left Europe for America, thus allowing greater governmental spending (or a slower level of cutbacks, as the case may be).
If America should be found to be in recession around now, much of the media will somehow blame Europe. But the fault, dear reader, would be in ourselves.