Everyone’s Talking About How The Fiscal Cliff Is Crushing The Consumer

Brick Lane Market shoppers

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Memes change and morph.A few months ago, everyone was talking about how the Fiscal Cliff was to be blamed for a slowdown in business investment growth.

Then business investment growth started picking up late into the year and people dropped that.


The story is that the Fiscal Cliff has crushed the consumer.

Even as of a week ago, there were analyst reports titled “How The Cliff Stole Christmas” keying off the fact that early Consumer Confidence readings were starting to slide.

Then on Christmas it came out that according to MasterCard, consumer spending growth was the weakest since 2008, and they blamed the Fiscal Cliff.

Then today we got a big whiff on another Consumer Confidence reading. And in the report there was this ominous line:  “Consumers’ expectations retreated sharply in December resulting in a decline in the overall Index. The sudden turnaround in expectations was most likely caused by uncertainty surrounding the oncoming fiscal cliff. A similar decline in expectations was experienced in August of 2011 during the debt ceiling discussions.”

Then there were signs that even The White House was getting re-nervous from the economy.

From ABC News:

“What we need is for the Senate Minority Leader not to block a vote and for Boehner to allow a vote,” a White House official told ABC News. “The hits to our economy aren’t coming from outside factors, they’re coming from congressional stupidity.”

In the last month the retail ETF XRT has fallen over 7% from its high.

The big meme is: The Fiscal Cliff is crushing the consumer.

Whether this turns out to be reality or just noise is to be answered down the road. But that’s the buzz.

For more on today’s Consumer Confidence number, see here >