discretionary spending

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.

Americans' Financial Health Is a Tad Better

The American consumer's financial health is showing signs of improvement, but the weak job market continues to derail the nation's economic recovery -- particularly for people in the lower income brackets, according to September's Consumer Reports Index, released on Tuesday.

GOP Wins Budget Battle, but May Lose Political War

The Republicans are winning this year%u2019s budget battle: Discretionary spending will decrease. But this is hardly the time for the GOP to take a victory lap: Next, the GOP will have to lower unemployment and improve the average American%u2019s daily life -- two areas where the party has historically come up short.

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.