Michael Santoli, quite a good writer, starts off very well in Barron's this week with the title and question "Will Consumers Ever Spend Again?"
It's a good question. Spending and consumer confidence are at levels not seen in a long while. Unemployment is spiking. Americans for a long time have spent too much and saved too little. Is now, or when we come out of the recession that we are surely in, the time that spending will be uncool and saving the thing to do?
Santoli doesn't answer the question, but most Barron's articles don't answer a question unless the answer is, "Stocks are too expensive."
My bet is that the new status quo will be the old status quo. When U.S. consumers feel better, they will spend. They have for as long as I've been here...