DiscretionarySpending

Falling Gas Prices Are an Early Holiday Gift for Retailers

Gas prices have finally begun to reflect the falling price of oil, which dipped from nearly $100 a barrel in July to less than $78 now. A gallon of regular averaged $3.408 Tuesday, down from $3.662 a month ago. That's excellent news for the nation's retailers as we approach the holiday shopping season.

Consumers Are Finding Cash for 'Small Luxuries'

As the economy improves, Americans have begun splurging again. But they're limiting their indulgences to haircuts, casual dining and coffee, while continuing to forego many bigger expenditures, like vacations and dining at expensive restaurants.

Retail Is Hoping for a Mildly Merry Christmas

The third-quarter earnings season got off to a mildly optimistic start for retailers, with department stores expecting the colder weather will heat up holiday sales, even as shoppers continue to seek cheap deals and generally hold back on spending.

Too Much Hope? Why Obama's Budget Is Unrealistic

The $3.8 trillion spending plan combines overly rosy projections of rapidly rising tax revenues with skyrocketing outlays in defense, entitlements and other mandatory spending, creating structural deficits above $1 trillion for a long time. Ending Bush-era tax cuts on the rich won't change that reality.