Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren announced early Friday that she had accepted an advisory role with the newly created U.S. consumer protection agency. The move comes despite fierce opposition from the financial industry.
The government today is often blamed for causing economic uncertainty, which some point to as the source of all the economy's woes. But there's a deeper issue in play than the fact that we have to guess what's coming next: The problem is the bias in our guesses.
Today, new rules kick in designed to protect consumers from predatory practices, such as exorbitant fees and sky-high rates by banks and credit card companies. But consumers beware: banks and card issuers have already come up with new fees.
Even Cupid is frugal these days. With mildly optimistic retail forecasts for 2010, experts expect lovers will hold their wallets tight while shopping for Valentine's Day gifts. For the full year, retail sales are expected to rise only a modest 2.5%.
The nation's recovery may appear slow in coming, but consumers are more upbeat heading into 2010. The Conference Board's consumer confidence rose to 52.9 in December, up from a revised 50.6 last month. That's the second monthly rise in a row.