This Sun-Times article, Can consumers keep keeping economy afloat? seems to indicate that the experts think that we're heading toward a crisis, and some of it comes from the reality that we can't just keep on spending as though there is no tomorrow. The trouble is, some of these so-called experts are a little backward as to blame, and to chicken and egg arrival order: "She [Diane C. Swonk, senior managing director and chief economist at Mesirow Financial] blames the lousy summer movie season on higher gasoline prices, which inspired families to stay home and rent a DVD instead of spending $50 for gas and movie tickets. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. did well during back-to-school shopping season, she said, 'because middle income households started to move down the food chain.'"
Can these indicators be saying something else, this year -- such as that many people didn't go to the movies this summer because the movies were even crappier than usual, and that Wal-Mart and Target actually had a LOT of people buying from them in order to send supplies to the hurricane-devastated regions, in addition to buying for their own kids? Katrina, Rita, and the like had a BIG impact on discount store sales during what would normally have been simply back-to-school shopping season.