Confidence among U.S. consumers declined more than forecast in January, reaching the lowest level in more than a year as higher payroll taxes took a bigger bite out of Americans’ paychecks.
The Conference Board’s index decreased to 58.6, the weakest since November 2011, from a revised 66.7 in December, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The January reading was lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey, which had a median estimate of 64.
The drop in confidence coincides with a two percentage- point increase in the payroll tax used to fund Social Security, a hurdle for consumers after a projected pickup in spending in the fourth quarter. The outlook for employment prospects and incomes also deteriorated this month, today’s data showed.
What does it mean? What does it bode?
Well, the fiscal doves would say that hitting the middle and lower classes with increased taxes during a very weak and slow recovery is just not sound economics. Those who can least afford to pay, end up paying more. Social Security was no where near bankruptcy, and more of the tax revenue could have been aimed at causing the longest-term solvency projections for Social Security than at reduced tax increases on those who take the lion's share of the worker's efforts already.
The fiscal and monetary hawks would say that those taking the lion's share are not taking more than their fair share but are forming the capital and taking the biggest risks to employ the mass of the workers.
We aren't going to end that debate here, but what we will say is that the worse it is for consumers in general, the more they will stay in rental housing.
Of course, there comes a point at which the economy can be doing so poorly that even renting becomes unaffordable even for the cheapest properties.
In that case, perhaps this saying might be wise to heed: What's the point in gaining the whole world if the bottom is going to fall out on you as a result of the process you used to gain it?
If you are an investor in 1-4 unit properties in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, or Washington, please do the financially responsible thing and make sure you have proper Landlord Insurance with PropertyPak™. We love focusing on real estate and the economy in general, but we are also here to serve your insurance needs.
Hill & Usher (PropertyPak™ is a division) has many insurance offerings. See our menu above for more info and links.
Did this post help you? Let us know by leaving your comment below.
Note: This blog does not provide legal, financial, or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.
Furthermore, we, as insurance producers, are prohibited by law from disparaging the insurance industry, carriers, other producers, etc. With that in mind, we provide links without staking out positions that violate the law. We provide them solely from a public-policy standpoint wherein we encourage our industry to be sure our profits, etc., are fair and balanced.
We do not necessarily fact checked the contents of every linked article or page, etc.
If we were to conclude any part or parts of our industry are in violation of fundamental fairness and the legal standards of a state or states, we'd address the issue through proper, legal channels. We trust you understand.
The laws that tie our tongues, so to speak, are designed to keep the public from losing confidence in the industry and the regulatory system overseeing it. Insurance commissioners around the country work very hard to analyze rates and to not allow the industry to be damaged by bad rate-settings and changes in coverages. The proper way for people in the industry to deal with such matters is by adhering to the laws, rules, and regulations of the applicable states and within industry associations where such matters may be discussed in private without giving the industry unnecessary black eyes. Ethics is very high on the list in the insurance industry, and we don't want to lose the people's trust. That said, the industry is not perfect; but what industry is?
For our part, we believe in strong regulations and strong regulators.
We welcome your comments and ask you to keep in mind that we cannot and will not reply in any way or ways where any insurance commissioner could rightly say we've violated the law of the given state.
We are allowed to share rating-bureau data/reports and industry-consultant opinions but make clear here that those opinions are theirs and do not necessarily reflect our position.