Keller @ Large: The Message Behind Lack Of Consumer Spending

BOSTON (CBS) – Is the deluge of “first 100 days” stories over?

Sorry, no, although I hope you will check out my three-part series on what you and your neighbors think of how it’s going that starts Monday night at 5 on WBZ-TV.

But as the artificial 100-day milestone recedes in the rear-view mirror, it’s worth remembering that barring unforeseen circumstances, this presidency will ultimately be judged as all others are – by how well or poorly the economy performs on his watch.

In that context, the front page of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal was an eyebrow-raiser.

Growth Slows on Tepid Spending” was the headline, above a report on weak gross domestic product growth of 0.7 percent in the first quarter, a surprise given the exuberant reaction of the stock market to Trump’s win last fall. “Americans sharply cut back spending on big-ticket items like cars, causing overall consumer purchases to grow at the slowest pace since late 2009.”

Why?

Call it a message to political and business elites.

You don’t need me to tell you why confidence in the ability of the political establishment to deliver on any of their promises might be low.

But after years of watching business sit on stockpiles of capital, and seeing executives get rich on the market while wages and job growth stagnated, why wouldn’t the average consumer be a bit skeptical?

Consumer spending drives economic growth.

Maybe the lack of it will spark some honest self-evaluation by the powers that be of how badly they’ve squandered the public’s trust.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

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