The post-election focus on the fiscal cliff has implications not only for the long-term economic outlook, but also for the immediate future. There is no better illustration of the real world impact of current policy debates than the way self-reported upper-income consumer spending has plummeted during recent weeks. While many investors may be taking profits now in anticipation of higher taxes, other upper-income Americans may be pulling back on spending in anticipation of lower after-tax take home pay in 2013.

Upper-income spending, as monitored by Gallup, has fallen steadily since the first weeks of September — falling below a weekly average of $100 during the last week of October — down to $82 during the week ending Nov. 11, 2012.

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