Hiding Behind Cold Shoulders
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NEW YORK CITY—In his most recent column, Ethan Penner continues his look at the culture of consumerism, focusing on how the weather-plagued winter hit consumer spending and whether the reaction is just excuse-mongering.
Yes, the winter was harsh, Penner concedes. But looking at the shopping environments consumers usually find themselves (whether malls or stores or online, it's all happening indoors), Penner maintains that the elements would not create nearly the barrier to leisure spending as has been represented. Instead, Penner sees other data that suggest the decline in consumer spending is more a structural correction that easy monetary policy and cheap foreign labor helped to mask, and suggests that the Federal Reserve's ultimate reaction might lead to a more precarious position.
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