Monday, January 09, 2006

Savings? We don't need no stinkin' savings

Americans saving less than nothing / Spending could outstrip income in 2005, which hasn't happened since the Depression:

When the Commerce Department recently tallied up consumer finances for November, it found that Americans shelled out more money than they took in. It was the seventh such month of red ink during 2005.

Kevin Lansing, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, tracks the personal savings rate -- the Commerce Department's measure of how much consumers have left after spending is subtracted from income. In November the savings rate was a negative 0.2 percent.

Given how much red ink households racked up in the first 11 months of last year, Lansing said the nation's personal savings rate could well be negative for all of 2005.

That, he added, would be "the first such occurrence since the Great Depression."

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