More consumers had trouble making payments on credit cards and other debts during the first three months of the year due to higher food and gas prices, an industry report said on Thursday.
The American Bankers Association said the data showed a downturn from prior quarters and described the most recent quarter as a "soft patch."
"Consumers are feeling insecure about the economy and whether their financial resources can carry them through until conditions improve," ABA chief economist James Chessen said in a statement.
This is the problem with the economy. For all intents and purposes, this is the only problem with the economy. People simply don't feel safe spending money. If you save tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, it won't do a damned thing to solve this problem and the economy won't improve. Worse, if you you take money from consumers to fund these high-end tax breaks, you'll make the problem worse.
Which is why the following is bad, bad news:
President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.
At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.
The term you're looking for is "boneheaded."
I want to make something extremely clear here -- the people receiving Medicare and Social Security benefits have paid for them. This is your tax money coming back to you. By taking this money away, the president is proposing what amounts to a demand-side tax hike at a time when consumer demand is struggling. And he's doing it because Republicans demand that tax breaks for the wealthy be considered sacred.
This is a transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to people who not only don't need it, but have done nothing to deserve it. We're going to take money from you to fund continuing a tax giveaway that has not done a thing to help the economy.
Why do Republicans want this? To cover their ass. Paul Ryan's Medicare-slashing plan put the party in a bad spot, so -- to make up for a boneheaded political move -- they demanded entitlement cuts. If Democrats join in with Republicans in cutting entitlements to pay for tax breaks for the rich, then the heat is off. This isn't about job creation, it isn't about economic recovery, it's about getting Republicans out of a hole so that more of them will be reelected.
Hope that this is a trial balloon and contact your senators, reps, and the White House. See to it that this incredibly stupid deal falls through.
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