The U.S. economy is limping along with the help of modest business investment in new equipment, some exports to parts of the world that are growing and the last few dollars from the government's 2009 stimulus spending program.
For the time being, it looks like American consumers are AWOL. And until they come back, don't expect to see any real recovery in economic growth and the job market. Consumer spending typically accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. economy.
Fresh data from the government Friday confirmed that American consumers are tapped out. Consumer spending in dollar terms rose 0.2 percent in August. But those extra dollars went to cover higher prices for food and gasoline; when adjusted for inflation, spending was flat.
Wages, meanwhile, slipped 0.1 percent -- the first decline in nearly two years. To make up the difference, American households had to dip into savings: the savings rate in August fell to its lowest level since late 2009.
"What you're basically getting is a scene where consumers are losing momentum, they're losing momentum on income and as a result of that they're slowing down on spending," said Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Securities in New York.
That spending slowdown has rippled through the economy, creating one of the biggest drags on an already weak recovery.
The part that the greedy didn't realize in their plans to take ALL of the wealth in this country, is that not even the most conspicuous consumers can keep an economy of this size going. They may be trying to push the middle class down into poverty and the poor into living on the streets, but if only 1% of the population has any money to spend, they're going to find that what they have isn't worth all that much.