Connecticut School Shootings-Facing Christmas

Consumer confidence, which helped nudge President Barack Obama to re-election victory in November, has dipped again to its lowest level since July in the midst of the Christmas retail season, news agencies report:

Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm with a network of analysts at shopping centers nationwide, estimates customer traffic over the weekend was in line with the same time a year ago, but that shoppers seem to be spending less.

“There was this absence of joy for the holiday,” Cohen said. “There was no Christmas spirit. There have been just too many distractions.”

Foremost among the causes is concern about the impact of the looming “fiscal cliff,” which will bring both tax hikes and spending cuts. President Obama has abandoned negotiations for his vacation in Hawaii, and GOP leaders were unable last week to unite their caucus behind a compromise proposal that conceded tax hikes on those earning more than $1 million annually. Barring a late breakthrough, the “fiscal cliff” will happen.

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