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By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
Topic - Harm Bandholz
Consumer confidence soared to a five-year high this month as an improving job market and double-digit gains in home prices lifted consumer spirits, the Conference Board reported Tuesday morning.
U.S. consumers are in an upbeat mood and are preparing to spend more this holiday season than last year's, providing a badly needed boost to the economy. But headwinds from the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy and the year-end political storm brewing in Washington could put a damper on their shopping spree, analysts say.
Europe has been in the second leg of a double-dip recession for nearly a year, officials announced Wednesday — a development that hardly comes as a surprise to the millions of workers protesting record-high unemployment in the streets of Athens and Madrid, or to many U.S. corporations with slumping sales on the continent.
U.S. consumers went on another shopping spree last month, driving up retail sales by a robust 1.1 percent in the second straight month of sizable gains, the Commerce Department reported Monday morning.
U.S. consumers snapped out of a spring funk last month and went on a shopping spree. That sent sales at department stores, restaurants, auto showrooms and other retailers soaring by 0.8 percent, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday morning.
Reading the economy these days is like taking a Rorschach test: Optimists see signs of progress in each economic report, while pessimists see the end of the expansion and many others host middling views.
The U.S. unemployment rate slipped further to a three-year low of 8.2 percent last month as businesses kept churning out new jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
Job growth ground to a halt last month in the strongest evidence to date that businesses were hit as hard as consumers by a sharp loss of confidence during the month spawned by Washington's debt crisis and severe turmoil in the world's financial markets.
American workers are getting squeezed, not able to get ahead because anemic growth in their wages is not keeping up with the fast rise in prices for food, fuel and other necessities.
Inflation is making a quick comeback after touching the lowest levels in decades last fall.
The economy turned an important corner at the end of last year, recouping all the ground lost during the Great Recession and expanding into record territory.
A common refrain these days is that Americans are learning to save more and spend less, depending less on credit cards and unsustainable increases in mortgage debt to finance lifestyles that many can't afford.
The nation's economic outlook improved Thursday as the government reported big drops in the nation's trade deficit in July and a large decline in claims for unemployment benefits last week.
The economic outlook improved Thursday as the government reported big drops in the nation's trade deficit in July and a large decline in claims for unemployment benefits last week.
The nation's highest income groups predictably did better during the recession and socked away their money, new government figures show, but wealthier Americans' newfound penchant for savings is already driving Democratic calls to raise taxes on them this fall.
"Sales fell almost twice as much as expected," he said, and what makes it "even more concerning is by far the biggest public support for the housing market is still in place."
Mr. Bandholz said the renewed housing downturn, along with more sluggish growth in jobs and fallout from the European debt crisis, is forcing the Fed to become more "cautious" and put on hold earlier plans to withdraw further monetary stimulus from the economy.