NPR : News

Filed Under:

Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed

On this Christmas Eve there's this not-so-cheery news from The Associated Press:

"Christmas shoppers thronged malls and pounced on discounts but apparently spent less this year, their spirits dampened by concerns about the economy and the aftermath of shootings and storms."

The wire service says that:

"Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm with a network of analysts at shopping centers nationwide, estimates customer traffic over the weekend was in line with the same time a year ago, but that shoppers seem to be spending less. 'There was this absence of joy for the holiday,' Cohen said. 'There was no Christmas spirit. There have been just too many distractions.' "

Those distractions include the so-called fiscal cliff — a combination of automatic tax hikes, spending cuts and expiring unemployment benefits — that will start to kick in as 2013 dawns unless President Obama and congressional leaders come up with some alternatives very quickly.

And on that point, the AP says, "lawmakers are increasingly skeptical about a possible deal and some predict the best possibility would be a small-scale patch because time is running out before the year-end deadline. Sen. Joe Lieberman predicted Sunday: 'We're going to spend New Year's Eve here, I believe.' "

This morning's related headlines include:

-- "Gloomy Predictions As Washington Approaches The 'Fiscal Cliff.' " (Christian Science Monitor)

-- "Lawmakers Say Time Short To Reach Deal On Fiscal Cliff." (Bloomberg News)

-- "Cliff Would Strike Low Incomes Hard." (The Wall Street Journal)

-- "Business Groups Grow Frustrated Over Impasse In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks." (The Hill)

-- Europe's Financial Markets "Flat On Fiscal Cliff Fears." (MarketWatch)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Bill Cosby Admitted To Acquiring Drugs To Give To A Woman For Sex

NPR's Kelly McEvers interviews MaryClaire Dale, an Associated Press reporter, about the court documents showing Cosby said in 2005 he got quaaludes to give to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex.
NPR

Mechanization Brings Quick Change To Borneo Region Known For 'Slow Rice'

A company is introducing mechanized rice farming to the interior of Malaysian Borneo for the first time. Scientists say the change may damage the bonds between the local people and their environment.
WAMU 88.5

New Challenges To Recycling In The United States

Falling commodity prices are putting a squeeze on American recycling companies. What this means for cities, counties and the future of recycling programs in the United States.

WAMU 88.5

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski

Kojo chats with Freeman Hrabowski, the president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, about the future of higher education - and what he's doing to steer African-American students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.