American Consumers Newsletter

The Middle Class Just Blinked

The back-to-school season is losing its luster. The traditional college student population is shrinking, according to the Census Bureau–an unexpected development that may be a harbinger of worse times to come for the higher education...

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Trapped in Gasoline Ghettos

OK, this is bad. The rapid rise in the price of gas is turning the nation’s far-flung rural and suburban areas into gasoline ghettos, locking millions of Americans into houses they cannot sell, far from their jobs, with little hope of...

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Ten All-American Traits

In the run-up to the November election, we are engaged–once again–in ritual self-analysis. Who are the American people? What do we believe? How will our national identity play out in the...

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Why We Are Bitter

Americans are bummed out–some might even call us bitter. When asked whether the country is on the right track, a record 81 percent of the public says it has veered off course, according to a recent New York Times survey. The...

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Last of the Big Spenders

Consumers stopped buying pretty much everything,” commented the Associated Press in a recent news story about the 0.6 percent decline in February retail sales. This bit of hyperbole about the $380 billion Americans spent at retailers last...

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Household Income Up, Earnings Down

This morning the Census Bureau released the latest report on the finances of American households–the results of the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Taken every March, the Census Bureau releases the...

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The Road Less-And Less-Traveled

What is wrong with this picture: We live in the third largest country in the world, yet the average American gets only 13 vacation days a year. We have 3.5 million square miles to explore, yet our spare time is so tight we can barely make it...

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Time Use Survey Reveals

If you have ever wondered while watching TV why advertisers are so intent on selling snacks or sleep aids or cleaning products–or even why they spend so much money on television advertising itself–the answers lie in the federal...

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First Comes Love

Then comes marriage, or at least that is what the folks at the National Marriage Project of Rutgers University hope (marriage.rutgers.edu). In their reports and testimony before Congress, the academics heading the program promote marriage to a...

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All Our Stuff

Want to know how much stuff Americans have? We have so much stuff that our homes are no longer adequate to contain it. We have so much stuff that millions of Americans rent self- storage lockers to house their accumulation. We have so much stuff...

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