A REALLY GOOD CHRISTMAS SEASON – NATIONAL NEWS

There have been a number of people who have scoffed at the tax cuts (I won’t name specifics about those who have done this) and an equally large number of the media who have refused to accurately portray the booming economy.

But the results of those things are apparent this Christmas season when, as the WSJ says, “There will be plenty of presents under the tree.”  That good news will be hard to keep secret.  Consumers are spending freely this holiday season and word is that they’ll still have money in their pockets come January – the tax cuts have brought families greater spendable income and the economy has increased their salaries because of stiff competition among companies for an increased workforce.  Overall retail sales rose .2% in November (economists had predicted a .1% gain); department store sales rose .4% and electronics and appliance stores, 1.4%.  Nonstore retailers – Amazon, for example – had an increase in sales of 2.3%  And, even better news is what goes along with the increased holiday spending – overall household debt had been reigned in to 98% of disposable income in the third quarter of this year (the lowest level since 2002) – making an exceptional showing, compared to its peak of 131% in 2007.  This factor, in combination with lower interest rates, has reduced the debt service ratio to its lowest level on record, according to the Journal.  Thus, the higher saving rate and lower dependency on debt “make it easier for consumers to maintain spending through any soft patches – not that there appear to be any of those in the offing.”  A strong job market and rising wages have increased both incomes and spending – and that seems likely to continue.  Hurrah for Christmas, 2018 – and Happy New Year to the country for 2019’s prospects!

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