The result could be a sharp pullback in consumer spending that would further weaken the slowing U.S. economy.
Such a pullback may already be taking shape. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve reported an abrupt slowdown in consumers' credit-card borrowings. In December, Americans had $944 billion in total revolving debt, most of it on credit cards, a seasonally adjusted annualized increase of 2.7%. That was off sharply from seasonally adjusted growth rates of 13.7% in November and 11.1% in October. And it reflects the volatility in consumers' spending habits as economic growth sputters.
Oh my goodness. People aren't getting deeper into debt fast enough. Whatever will we do?