U.S. Consumer So Totally Screwed, Economists Say


It's a good thing Obama sort of halfway gave that Consumer Protection Bureau job to his alleged friendElizabeth Warren, because it sort of sounds like these are terrible times for the Consumer -- who, by executive order, officially replaced the U.S. Citizen back in 1983. For example, U.S. Consumer Sentiment "unexpectedly declined" this month, hitting a one-year low. How is that unexpected? Did the economists think everybody wouldn't notice? Household wealth (!) dropped again in the second quarter of 2010, and home values are now expected to either stagnate or decline for another three years, or maybe forever, who knows. But guess who's really worried?

The chief operating officer and president of Wal-Mart America, that's who!

"Our customer remains challenged,” William Simon, president and chief operating officer of Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations, said at an analyst presentation Sept. 15. “We need to figure out how to operate in this environment.”

Second-quarter earnings were not what Wal-Mart “wanted” them to be, Simon said. The world’s largest retailer is experiencing a rising number of transactions being paid for with government-assistance programs and seeing some customers wait to buy baby formula until paychecks or assistance checks are issued, he said.

Make sure you understand that last sentence.

Today's FDIC bank closures were in Ohio, Georgia and New Jersey, bringing the total to 124 for the year, so far. [Bloomberg]


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