The federal government is showering households with tax rebates to spur spending and invigorate a troubled economy. But many Americans are so consumed with debt and the soaring price of gasoline that they are opting to save the money or use it to pay bills, according to surveys, sales data and interviews with people from Florida to California...."The initial sense is that people are not running out to the malls to spend their checks," said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at the PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. "It's not quite proving to be a hot potato that's burning a hole in people's pockets."- From a June 1 front-page story by Peter Goodman, "Consumers Lean on Rebate Checks for Bills and Gas."
Retail sales rose more than expected last month after Americans received their tax rebates from the government, a welcome sign of some resilience in the primary engine of the economy....Sales of retail goods and services rose 1 percent last month, twice the expected increase.- From a June 12 online filing by Michael Grynbaum.