Today's report from the government on February's retail sales was awful. Last month's sales fell by 0.1 percent, which was bad enough. Beyond that, January's originally reported 0.2 percent increase was revised down to a 0.4 percent decrease. Additionally, as I noted at my home blog this morning, January's seasonally adjusted revision should have been much worse, based on how terrible that month's raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) sales figure was.
In his dispatch following the Census Bureau's release, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber recognized the fall in sales as a problem; but as he sees it, consumers have money, and just aren't spending it. The hardly subtle implication is that if the economy struggles, it will be due to our collective failure to engage in profligate spending: