The one sentence of wisdom to come out of the very loud mouth of James Carvelle occurred in 1992. It's the Economy, Stupid. It means that, in the big picture most voters vote with their wallet.
Some of today's reports.
Wall Street's retreat following the downbeat news about consumers also comes after several days of sizable gains in stocks and on the final session before the long Labor Day weekend. Pre-holiday trading is generally light and some pullback was to be expected.
Still, investors were uneasy after the Commerce Department reported that personal incomes fell by 0.7 percent in July -- well beyond the drop of 0.1 percent that analysts polled by Thomson IFR had predicted on average. That reflects the waning impact of tax rebate checks that Americans received this spring.
As expected, the government also said consumer spending rose a modest 0.2 percent. That was below the 0.6 percent increase seen in June and, accounting for rising prices, spending fell by 0.4 percent in July. Wall Street has been particularly concerned about Americans' ability to help the economy grow, as high prices for gas and food have strapped many household budgets.
"My biggest concern with the income data is that we're getting off to a weak start to the third quarter," said Robert Dye, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "The income numbers are a reminder that the economy is going to look worse before it gets better."
Not so fast Yoda, the Yong Jeddah still has some force, so he says........
Bush Says Stimulus Helping Economy Start to `Improve' (Update1)
By Holly Rosenkrantz and Nadine Elsibai
Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said the U.S. economy is ``beginning to improve,'' and he credited the $168 billion stimulus this year with helping to ward off a recession.
Bush, in his weekly radio address, cited several economic indicators that he said show signs of improvement: the decline in home sales has leveled off and sales are rising in some parts of the country. Orders for some durable goods are increasing, and the economy grew in the second quarter at an annual rate of 3.3 percent, he added.
``There are signs that the stimulus package will continue to have a beneficial impact on the economy in the second half of the year,'' Bush said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in Congress have endorsed a plan for an additional $50 billion in economic stimulus from the government. Bush's top economic adviser, Edward Lazear, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television this week that the economy doesn't need it.
Instead, Bush pressed Congress in his radio address to focus on opening up more domestic land to oil drilling, passing free-trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and making his tax cuts permanent. Lawmakers return to Washington from a summer recess the week of Sept. 8.
Bush said the ``election season'' may make it challenging for Congress to focus on the legislative agenda.
``We still have time to accomplish important goals for our country,'' he said.
Clinton on McCain
Senator Hillary Clinton, giving the Democratic radio address today, said John McCain would continue Bush administration policies that she described as failures, if the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is elected.
McCain, a senator from Arizona, has said that the U.S. economy is ``fundamentally sound,'' Clinton said. That makes McCain and Bush ``awfully hard to tell apart,'' the former Democratic presidential candidate said.
However, the differences between Republicans and Democrats ``could not be starker,'' Clinton said, particularly for middle- class families.
``With Barack Obama in the White House and Democrats leading in Congress, we will lead the charge to revitalize the economy, create jobs, make college affordable again, and enable hard-working Americans to pay for gas, food, utilities and cover the monthly bills,'' Clinton said.