The U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate last quarter, sharply less than first thought, in part because consumers didn’t spend as much as initially estimated….The Commerce Department on Friday reduced its estimate of economic growth in the October-December quarter from an initial 3.2 percent annual rate.
….A key reason for the downgrade was that consumer spending is now estimated to have expanded at a 2.6 percent annual rate, below the initial estimate of 3.3 percent though still the strongest quarterly spending by consumers in nearly two years.
Analysts are trying to blame this on the weather, but I’d take that with a bit of skepticism. Bad weather is the last refuge of economic scoundrels, so to speak. The starker truth is that the American economy just remains sluggish, full stop. Why? Because that’s the path we’ve chosen. This is a political decision, not the inevitable hydraulic workings of either the economy or Mother Nature.