Fearful that economic conditions could get worse and stay that way, Americans are showing an enthusiasm for thriftiness not seen in decades.
This behavioral shift isn't simply about spending less. The New Frugality emphasizes stretching every dollar. It means bypassing the fashion mall for the discount chain store, buying secondhand clothes and furniture, or trading down to store brands.
There's more business for repairmen and less for salesmen. Consumers are clipping more coupons and swiping their credit cards less.All good news. Of course, no Establishment minded writers can resist adding the usual, brainless liberal cliches:
That kind of scrimping may be good for stressed family budgets, but it's bad for the nation's overall economy — and that has the potential to reinforce the miserly mood.
The authors expect us to believe that: (1) What's good for the individual is somehow bad for the group, and; (2) Calculated adjustment to a changed cost/benefit ratio is really just a "mood".
Point one is standard liberal collectivism: when individuals act in their own proper interests, they are seen as harmful to the community. Point two is the confusion of reality with feelings (unsurprising when one is dealing with liberal women): Americans are not cutting consumption because they are actually poor. Heavens, no! They are doing this because they are "fearful" of becoming poor, and this emotion compels them to an "enthusiasm" for thrift.
At least the authors aren't urging consumers to go deeper into debt.